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Minding the Tech Gap: Internet and technology penetration in the world.

By Gonzalo Fernández, Market Analyst

We spend so much of our time online using our phones and laptops that is can be easy to forget that there are still plenty of people who are not connected to the internet or who do not even know what a computer is. Not every country in the world is as connected as North America, or other first world countries. Even though we are so used to hearing about income and economic inequality, we often overlook the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor people of the world, a gap that is brought about by technological progress, also known as the technological gap.

What is the technological gap? It is the disparity between communities that have access to the internet and those that do not. It is also the inequalities produced by rapid technological innovations, such as the personal computer, mobile technology, broadband, and other devices. It is the differences between groups according to their ability to use technology effectively, due to the different levels of literacy and capability.

Disparity within the technological progress is regarded as one of the main factors driving the recent increase in inequality between societies. When the time lags between the appearance of a new technology and its acquisition by a person, region, or country is too big, a gap is created. The problem needs to be addressed, especially since technology is a powerful weapon, an instrument directly related to a society’s capacity to produce wealth and development. In fact, nowadays, technology and internet access constitute two of the key variables that determine a society’s position in the worldwide human development index.

United, but separate: Closing the tech gap

Undoubtedly, the tech gap creates a series of new challenges for societies around the world, but especially for Latin America. The integration of new information and communication technologies needs to be a core strategy to generate new learning and employment opportunities for the future.

As a country, Argentina has achieved huge success in expanding the use of the internet across its population. According to Maky Makeer’s study, internet penetration in Argentina is the highest in the region, ahead of Brazil and Mexico and only just behind the United States. In fact, seven out of 10 Argentineans have access to the web. Perhaps the challenge for the future is to spread the internet and access to technology even further.

The technological revolution is radically transforming our societies, at a rapid pace. If addressed properly, it could improve all aspects of our social, economic, and cultural lives. In this regard, technology needs to be seen as a development accelerator factor, one which needs to be spread to every corner of our planet.

Some of Santex’s initiatives to address the Technology gap include our SANTEX’ CHANGEMAKERS PROGRAM.

The Santex Volunteer Team:

  • has painted the local school.
  • has set up a tech center in a rural community on the outskirts of the city of Córdoba, Argentina.
  • is currently giving IT training to children and adults in order to teach them how to use computers. These children and adults are leaving everything from general use of computers, the Microsoft Office suite, and using the internet as a tool to solve daily problems and surf through information.