Today, the European Commission and the Slovenian Presidency of the Council have launched the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean. One year after launching the D4D Hub for Africa, this is a significant step to drive forward global cooperation on digital issues, in line with the EU's Global Gateway Strategy. The Latin America and Caribbean branch of the D4D will bring the EU and Latin American and Caribbean digital markets closer together.
The EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Digital Alliance is due to be established in 2022. The D4D Hub will be one of the main channels to translate digital transformation into actions, by bringing in EU digital expertise and technology and by fostering contacts, partnerships and investments in the digital economy of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The D4D approach is based on knowledge sharing, advisory services to national and regional institutions and technical assistance to leverage expertise and partnerships with all relevant stakeholders: from governments to the private sector, academia, think tanks, civil society organisations.
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: ”Societies thrive when they are connected to one another. Today more than ever, digital technologies are decisive for sustainable development. I am delighted to see that the Digital for Development Hub is reaching another level of its international operationalisation; this will reinforce our ties with our partners from Latin America and the Caribbean. This is the EU Global Gateway in action.”
This digital cooperation will cover various fields as digital infrastructures, data protection, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity or digital skills, all decisive factors for economic and society development. It will advance convergence on rules and standards. The private sector will be at the heart of this digital cooperation to identify future opportunities of digital development and contribute to mobilise related resources.
The EU and Latin America and the Caribbean have strong digital ties, including with the BELLA programme with Latin America: a 34,000-kilometer long digital network, which stretches all the way from Portugal to Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Chile. Six thousand kilometres of that network also run beneath the Atlantic Ocean through a fibre-optic submarine cable.
The EU and Latin America and the Caribbean share an interest in strengthening digital cooperation as a central part of their joint forward-looking, sustainable recovery agenda, in line with the discussions at the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Leaders' Meeting of 2 December 2021. The Digital for Development (D4D) Hub was launched on 8 December 2020 by President von der Leyen. It is an ambitious Team Europe coordination mechanism to step up dialogue to promote a human-centric model of digital transformation with partner countries. So far, 12 EU Member States (Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands) are participating in the Global D4D Hub together with the European Investment Bank and the European Commission to address the digital divide as Team Europe.
The D4D Hub's global coverage has brought Team Europe to work on the digital transformation with partner countries in a coordinated way. So far, it has been operational in Africa, through first pilot project with five EU Member States (Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, and Luxembourg): the African Union-European Union D4D Hub, which provides needs-based technical assistance responding to the characteristics of local digital ecosystems.
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