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Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural Areas of Latin America and the Caribbean: Towards a Digital Agricultural Revolution

Event Date
2021-02-16
City
San José
Country

Descripcion

The development of technology and its growing massification is creating a more interconnected world and more inter-dependent societies, which is reflected in accelerated changes in economies, societies, and environmental relationships, among other areas. New technologies are filtering into all our activities, while increasing the efficiency of human resources, boosting productivity, as well as improving services, communication and interaction.

One of the main challenges that we face as a society is to ensure that everyone is able to access and use these technologies, even as we tap opportunities for the advancement of less developed and disadvantaged groups. If not, these tools may in fact increase the differences between the development levels of various societies. This challenge is referred to as the digital divide, which the World Economic Forum (2017) defines as “unequal access to information, knowledge and education through information and communication technology”. Countries in the hemisphere are mindful of this situation and are adopting measures to promote investment in technological infrastructure and to improve the populations’ capacities to access and use this technology.

The global spread of Covid-19 in 2020 triggered a series of crises that are posing an unexpected and daunting challenge for which our societies were not prepared. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of new technologies, which have played a central role in mitigating its effects, by creating the necessary conditions that allowed sectors of the economy to remain active, using virtual means. The pandemic is prompting us to place even greater value on the potential of new technologies to develop our societies, which will undoubtedly cause us to redouble efforts to expand infrastructure, build capacities and encourage the use of technology. As such, the new technologies, which are quietly taking their place among tools to enhance agricultural and rural development today, will be afforded better conditions to improve and multiply in the near future.

However, the challenge is to ensure that these tools also create equitable, inclusive and sustainable development in rural territories. Thus, even as we create incentives to promote technology dissemination and application, we must also protect social groups that are lagging behind, while proposing strategies to bolster their capacities and enhancing efforts to ensure them digital access and coverage. Finally, we must design technology that is appropriate to their environments and ways of life. In other words, we must be ever mindful of the digital divide and develop strategies to minimize it.

IICA considers that information and communication technology is a powerful tool to improve rural living conditions, in turn, contributing to development. Thus, in order to make use of this technology, reducing the digital gap becomes imperative given the wide potentialities it offers to the development and transformation of productive activity in rural territories.

Objectives

General: Ensure the full achievement of the benefits of digital technological progress, aiming to ensure that on-one is left behind, particularly in rural areas and in the agriculture sector.

 

Specific:

  1. Share information about digitalization opportunities and challenges to contribute to a more inclusive agriculture sector and rural environment.
  2. Disseminate success stories and lessons learned from projects and public policies implemented in different LAC countries, with respect to bridging the digital divide in rural areas and indigenous communities.
  3. Share experiences about the use of ICT tools in rural areas, emphasizing their impact on inhabitants, particularly family farmers, indigenous people, youth and rural women.
  4. Define elements for future projects that will facilitate joint execution of actions aimed at sensitization, dissemination, appropriation, training, productive use, empowerment and overall digital education in rural areas in LAC countries.

 

Program

Fecha - Hora Actividad Expositores
Tuesday, februay 16, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. (Costa Rica time) Digital divide: Importance, challenges and opportunities
Opening Manuel Otero, Director General, IICA
Moderator: Ronald Guendel, Global Head Food Security and Advocacy, Bayer Crop Science
Digitalization in LAC: opportunities and challenges for the rural environment, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Pablo Palacios, Program Officer, International Telecommunications Union
The digital divide and the current status of connectivity in rural areas in LAC (IICA-Microsoft-IDB study). Federico Villarreal, Director of Technical Cooperation, IICA
Panel Discussion: The digital divide and inclusive development of disadvantaged groups in the rural environment. Beatriz Paredes, Mexican senator and Goodwill Ambassador of IICA for topics related to Sustainable Development and Social Equity
Samantha Marshall, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Government of Antigua and Barbuda
Lilian Chamorro, Colnodo – Strategic use of the internet for development, Colombia
Yacine Khelladi, Regional Coordinator LAC, A4AI
Opportunity for comments
Thursday, februay 18, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. (Costa Rica time) Public policies to bridge the digital divide
Welcome Paola Vega, Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Costa Rica
Moderator: Fernando Schwanke, Secretary of Family Farming and Cooperativism, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Brazil
Strategies for the digitalization and reduction of the rural digital divide Octavio Sotomayor, ECLAC (LAC Digital Agenda - eLAC Secretariat)
José Emilio Guerrero, University of Cordoba, Spain
Panel Discussion: Experiences of public policies and lessons learned in reducing the digital divide in the agriculture sector and rural areas. Rocío Wojski, Subdirector of Innovation and Digitalization, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), Spain
Camilo Jiménez, Director of Infrastructure, Ministry of Technology, Information and Communication, Colombia
Maryleana Méndez, Executive Director, Inter-American Association of Telecom Enterprises (ASIET)
Opportunity for comments
Tuesday, februay 23, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. (Costa Rica time) Experiences in digital agriculture
Welcome Lloyd Day, Deputy Director General, IICA
Moderator: Enrique Hennings, Lead Technical Specialist in Rural Markets and Enterprises at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Technologies that are transforming the rural world. Federico Meyer, Founder and CEO, Club Agtech (Argentina)
Panel Discussion: Experiences on the use of ICT tools in agriculture Germán Otálora, Airband Initiative Program Manager LATAM, Microsoft
Keith Agoada, Co-founder and CEO, Producers Market
David Proenza, General Manager, Foodchain SA
Blas Cristaldo, General Manager, FECOPROD (Paraguay)
Álvaro Camacho, Regional Coordinator of the Cacao Móvil App
Federico Bert, Director R&D CREA, Agroconsultas Online
Jonathan Castro, Coordinator FabLab, IICA
Opportunity for comments
Thursday, februay 25, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. (Costa Rica time) Elements for a joint roadmap
Welcome Emmanuel Picado, Manager ICTs and Digital Agriculture, IICA
Moderator: Teodoro Willink Castro, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Costa Rica
Perspectives and the path to follow. Luca María Pesando, Assistant Professor - Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University
Claudia Rossler, Agriculture - Strategic Partnerships, Principal Program Manager, Azure Global Engineering, Microsoft
Claudia Carbajal Morelos, Country Director for Brazil and Acting Regional Director for Latin America, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD)
Pedro Martel, Chief of the Environment, Rural Development and Disaster Risk Management Division., IADB (to be confirmed)
Rolando Flores Galarza, Dean, New Mexico State University
Opportunity for comments
Close of the forum Manuel Otero, Director General, IICA

Speakers

 

Session

Date

Content

  1. Digital divide: Importance, challenges and opportunities 

16 Feb

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. CR

Opening

Manuel Otero, Director General, IICA

Moderator:

Ronald Guendel, Global Head Food Security and Advocacy, Bayer Crop Science

Digitalization in LAC: opportunities and challenges for the rural environment, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pablo Palacios, Program Officer, International Telecommunications Union 

The digital divide and the current status of connectivity in rural areas in LAC (IICA-Microsoft-IDB study).

Federico Villarreal, Director of Technical Cooperation, IICA

Panel Discussion: The digital divide and inclusive development of disadvantaged groups in the rural environment.

  • Beatriz Paredes, Mexican senator and Goodwill Ambassador of IICA for topics related to Sustainable Development and Social Equity
  • Samantha Marshall, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Government of Antigua and Barbuda
  • Lilian Chamorro, Colnodo – Strategic use of the internet for development, Colombia
  • Yacine Khelladi, Regional Coordinator LAC, A4AI

Opportunity for comments

  1. Public policies to bridge the digital divide 

18 Feb

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. CR

Welcome

Paola Vega, Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Costa Rica

Moderator:

Fernando Schwanke, Secretary of Family Farming and Cooperativism, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Brazil

Strategies for the digitalization and reduction of the rural digital divide 

  • Octavio Sotomayor, ECLAC (LAC Digital Agenda - eLAC Secretariat)
  • José Emilio Guerrero, University of Cordoba, Spain

Panel Discussion: Experiences of public policies and lessons learned in reducing the digital divide in the agriculture sector and rural areas.  

  • Rocío Wojski, Subdirector of Innovation and Digitalization, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), Spain
  • Camilo Jiménez, Director of Infrastructure, Ministry of Technology, Information and Communication, Colombia
  • Maryleana Méndez, Executive Director, Inter-American Association of Telecom Enterprises (ASIET)

Opportunity for comments

  1. Experiences in digital agriculture 

23 Feb

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. CR

Welcome

Lloyd Day, Deputy Director General, IICA

Moderator:

Enrique Hennings, Lead Technical Specialist in Rural Markets ans Enterprises at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Technologies that are transforming the rural world. 

Federico Meyer, Founder and CEO, Club Agtech (Argentina)

Panel Discussion: Experiences on the use of ICT tools in agriculture.

  • Germán Otálora, Airband Initiative Program Manager LATAM, Microsoft
  • Keith Agoada, Co-founder and Executive Director, Producers Market
  • David Proenza, General Manager, Foodchain SA
  • Blas Cristaldo, General Manager, FECOPROD (Paraguay)
  • Álvaro Camacho, Regional Coordinator of the Cacao Móvil App
  • Federico Bert, Director R&D CREA, Agroconsultas Online
  • Jonathan Castro, Coordinator FabLab, IICA

Opportunity for comments

  1. Elements for a joint roadmap 

25 Feb

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. CR

Welcome:

Emmanuel Picado, Manager ICTs and Digital Agriculture, IICA

Moderator:

Teodoro Willink Castro, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Costa Rica

Perspectives and the path to follow.

  • Luca María Pesando, Assistant Professor - Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University
  • Claudia Rossler, Agriculture - Strategic Partnerships, Principal Program Manager, Azure Global Engineering, Microsoft
  • Claudia Carbajal Morelos, Country Director for Brazil and Acting Regional Director for Latin America, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD)
  • Pedro Martel, Chief of the Environment, Rural Development and Disaster Risk Management Division., IADB (to be confirmed)
  • Rolando Flores Galarza, Dean, New Mexico State University

Opportunity for comments

Close of the forum

Manuel Otero, Director General, IICA

Presentations

You can access future polls, presentations, responses, and other forum details at the link: https://forms.gle/1mu7jtDhjR3EuNaW9 

Live Transmission

Forum 1: Digital divide: Importance, challenges and opportunities  

Forum 2: Public policies to bridge the digital divide  

Forum 3: Experiences in digital agriculture  

Forum 4: Elements for a joint roadmap