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Latin American countries fall in Internet rankings

April 18, 2008 | 11:22 am

Latin American countries have lost ground in a global measure of how countries are faring in Internet development and access, according to the Global Information Technology Report by the World Economic Forum, which you can download and read here.

Mexico fell from 49th place last year to 58th. Brazil went from 53rd to 59th, while Argentina dropped from 63rd to 77th place.

Chile, the top-ranked country in the region, fell from 31st spot last year to 34th this year. Colombia went from 64th to 69th and Peru dropped from 78th to 84th. Venezuela fell too, from 83rd to 86th.

Meantime, countries in the Middle East showed noteworthy advancements, with Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan at the forefront.

The report measures how well countries are equipped to use information and communication technology. The research also measures the quality of that infrastructure and current usage and includes advances in telecommunications, such as mobile phones and networks.

The study is based on the theory that things like Internet access and infrastructure and other communication technologies play a fundamental role in assisting the overall growth and development of countries.

“Not only can it drive sustainable growth, but it can also help in poverty alleviation by giving people access to knowledge, as well as better opportunities and life conditions,” writes Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum in the preface of the report.

Report co-author Soumitra Dutta says in this interview with the Miami Herald that Latin America isn’t failing to invest in these areas, but rather that other regions in the world are doing it faster.

But she did warn that “Latin American countries may pay a high cost if they don’t modernize their information technology sector.”

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City