CyberTech Latin America, a one-day digital event focused on cyber innovation and entrepreneurship, begins today.
The purpose of this year’s conference is to host a robust dialogue on cyber risks in the western hemisphere. For Latin American and the Caribbean, cybercrimes remain a major threat to the region’s development ambitions. The Inter-American Development Bank has noted that of the $575 billion lost globally to cybercrimes in 2016, Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for $90 billion. These figures have almost certainly climbed sharply in the intervening years. The link between cybercrimes and existing challenges, such as the trade in illegal drugs, has aggravated the situation and highlighted the need to protect the region’s digital infrastructure.
Despite the proliferation of e-commerce and e-government, Latin America has struggled with a slow response to cyber threats and has a serious innovation gap. Companies in the region are 20% less likely to produce market-disrupting innovation in cyberspace than companies in middle-income countries in Europe and Central Asia. However, governments in major regional economic hubs, especially Brazil, Argentina and Chile, are developing policies to expand innovation ecosystems and attract capital.
Latin America still faces a lack of integration of academic, governmental, technological and commercial institutions to secure a more inclusive cyberspace. The region will likely continue to struggle with adapting to the militarisation of cyberspace and modifying its regulatory framework to extend the role of private sector in cyber activities.
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Bryan serves as a research analyst and editor on the Current Developments Team, focusing on economic trends, development and geopolitics in Latin America and the Caribbean.