Latin America high on entrepreneurship, says Telefónica survey

07 June 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Latin American countries score highly for entrepreneurship in the digital world, but North America and Europe come out top in a new Telefónica survey of digital life.

The survey of 34 countries shows that the US tops the index with a total score of 96.3 out of 100, and Canada, the UK, Colombia, Australia and Chile lead in performance relative to their gross domestic product per person.

Telefónica executive chairman and CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete Lopez commented: “The index has highlighted that while the US and European countries display great strength in many areas, Latin American countries rank particularly highly for entrepreneurship.”

Colombia and Chile outperform “those countries perceived to be more digitally developed”, said Álvarez-Pallete.

Six of the G7 leading economies – US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Japan – come in the top eight, but the seventh G7 member, Italy, lags far below at 17th place.

In the competition between the world’s largest countries by population, China (24th with 58.3) ranks ahead of India (28th with a score of 54.4), says the survey.

The survey shows the importance of digital economy to nations’ economies. “The application of digital technology now contributes as much as 10% to total GDP in the world’s more digitally developed countries,” said Álvarez-Pallete.

The Telefónica index on digital life has been created with academics from London’s Imperial College Business School, George Mason University in Virginia and the University of Pécs in Hungary.

Telefónica is using the survey to highlight calls for regulations that affect market structure, open innovation and customer choice; legislation to encourage customer experience, freedom of expression, privacy and security; and policies to support innovation, e-skills, cultural attitudes and the start-up ecosystem.

“Current regulation has to change in order for countries to maximise the digital opportunity,” said Álvarez-Pallete. “To unleash the full potential of the digital economy, we need forward-looking, fairer public policies and a better cooperation between all stakeholders, public and private. Without this, we risk a digital divide, which could not only threaten economic progress, but also the lives of citizens globally.”