Access Alert: Colombia releases National Digital Strategy 2023-2026

Access Alert: Colombia releases National Digital Strategy 2023-2026

On 7 February, Colombia’s Ministry of Information, and Communication Technologies (MinTIC) and the National Planning Department (DNP) unveiled the government’s National Digital Strategy (NDS) for 2023-2026. Through this public policy instrument, the government aims to articulate its vision of leveraging the access and use of digital technologies to tackle domestic economic, social, and environmental challenges. The strategy is closely aligned with the digital transformation policies enshrined in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2022-2026, approved in 2023.

Expanding the deployment of connectivity infrastructure, establishing the internet as an essential public service, and strengthening e-government are earmarked in the NDP as key ICT goals for the Petro administration – all of which match with the new digital strategy.

Unleashing the potential for DX

The roadmap charters a clear set of priorities comprising over 100 actions, with a focus on eight strategic pillars:

  1. Connectivity – Promote investment and enhance ICT infrastructure and services. This includes ensuring access to quality and affordable internet service, 5G deployment, and spectrum allocation.
  2. Data Infrastructure Establish secure data infrastructure by implementing policies related to data governance, interoperability, and exchanges.
  3. Digital trust and security Build capacity to ensure human interactions derived from the use of digital technologies take place in a safe and secure environment. The strategy calls for cybersecurity legislation while proposing the creation of a government entity to plan, coordinate, and articulate actions to build digital security resilience.
  4. Digital skills and talent Strengthen digital skills and talent development to increase competitiveness while bridging the digital gap, with a focus on promoting the use of digital technologies in the education sector.
  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Create opportunities for the ethical use, implementation, and democratisation of AI and other emerging tech to generate economic and social value. Such efforts should consider risk management strategies and safeguarding human rights.
  6. Digital Public Transformation Encourage e-government (e.g., digitalisation of public procedures and services, and government procurement) to foster public innovation, enhance data utilisation, and improve citizen’s trust in government institutions.
  7. Digital Economy Support the use of digital technologies and innovation in the country’s productive sector, including those related to the digitalisation of businesses, e-commerce, and digital entrepreneurship. This also considers addressing the implications of digital technologies on workforce dynamics.
  8. Digital Society Place individuals and their well-being at the centre of digital transformation through the promotion of social inclusion policies and protection of human rights in the digital environment. Notably, among the social challenges identified include those related to mental health, the impact of fake news and content, urbanisation and smart cities, and the environment.

Moreover, the strategy outlines 13 primary targets, each of which will be assessed with a specific indicator already set in the NDP. Key targets include increasing both mobile and fixed Internet access, enhancing mobile accessibility, promoting awareness of safe and responsible ICT usage, and providing digital skills training across society.

What’s next?

As for next steps, the government will define a governance framework or model responsible for coordinating, aligning, and monitoring the progress of such actions. This scheme will also consider the existing governance frameworks for digital security and data infrastructure as well as ongoing interinstitutional working groups.

By setting forth a digital strategy, the Colombian government aims to lay a foundation for an economy and society that can effectively harness the power of digital transformation. Its success will largely depend on cross-government commitment and endorsement, clear lines of accountability and ownership, and tangible results in the short, medium, and long term. Most importantly, tools devised for assessing compliance and efficacy must exhibit a level of specificity sufficient to adequately encompass progress or lack thereof.

If you would like to know what risks and opportunities the new Colombian National Digital Strategy (NDS) could present for your company, or what the accompanying governance framework might look like, please contact Rodrigo Serrallonga at [email protected] or Geusseppe Gonzalez at [email protected].

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