1. Governing digital government

Correctly governing the development and implementation of digital government policies is a fundamental step to achieve a mature, coherent, and trustworthy digital transformation of the public sector. Since the adoption by the Council of the Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014[1]), the OECD has identified digital government maturity as a fine interplay between leadership, mandate, vision, and integrated decisions and activities. Governance, understood as “the formal and informal arrangements that determine how public decisions are made and how public actions are carried out” (OECD, 2005[2]), is thus at the core of this process. Therefore, the study of the governance of digital government across Latin American and Caribbean countries is key for developing tailored policy recommendations for the inclusive and efficient adoption of digital technologies in the design and delivery of public policies and services.

This first chapter examines the governance of digital government in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In doing so, it seeks to achieve three objectives:

  • Recognise key contextual factors that shape the strategic approaches to digital government in the region.

  • Understand how countries are leading, co-ordinating and steering the digital transformation of their governments.

  • Identify the strategic opportunities that LAC countries can adopt to inform and guide their digital government strategies, as well as for defining a roadmap for future developments at national and regional level.

In doing so, this chapter’s analysis is informed by the conceptual framework of the E-Leaders Handbook on the Governance of Digital Government (OECD, 2021[3]). The Handbook’s framework (see Figure 1.1) seeks to support governments in strengthening the governance of their digital government policies based on the insights, knowledge and best practices of OECD member and non-member countries. The following three critical governance facets developed in the framework are applied to the LAC context in the next sections:

  • The Contextual Factors facet defines political, administrative, socio-economic, technological, policy and geographical characteristics to be considered when designing policies, strategies, and institutional approaches. This section investigates key regional factors that influence the progress, maturity, and priorities of digital government policies across the region. It concentrates particularly in two main factors. First, the political and administrative features acting as macro constitutive elements of governance in the region, such as the degree of regional autonomy, power structures, degree of participation, levels of trust, and policy continuity in the region. And second, the socio-economic features framing the development of digital governments initiatives and policies, such as digital skills, use of the internet, digital infrastructure, and digitalisation agendas.

  • The Institutional Models facet includes different institutional set-ups, approaches, arrangements and mechanisms within the public sector and digital government ecosystem. This chapter will concentrate particularly in assessing the configuration, mandate, and functions of the institutions and co-ordination mechanisms overseeing digital government strategies. By analysing these aspects across different countries, it seeks to provide insights about the levels of institutional maturity in the region. This analysis will help understand the capacity of these institutions to effectively influence and direct the design and implementation of digital government policies in a sustainable manner.

  • The Policy Levers facet describes different policy instruments - such as the overarching strategy, standards and regulations, as well as funding approaches, public investment and financial management mechanisms - that governments can use to ensure a sound and coherent digital transformation of the public sector. This chapter will particularly focus on analysing the national and regional digital government strategies, as well as the regulations and standards across countries. Chapter 2 of the review will focus on public investment and financial management tools.

Digital government policies, strategies and services are context dependent. They become inclusive and effective when they respond to specific needs, are built on solid public institutions, and are tailored to the conditions shaping their societies and economies. Governing the digital transformation of governments requires a profound understanding of such macro factors that frame the conditions, possibilities, and objectives under which such policies operate. The first section of this chapter evaluates a set of relevant contextual factors to understand the political, administrative, social, and economic framework under which the governance of digital government policies operates in the LAC region.

Setting the ground for a comprehensive understanding of governance processes in LAC requires exploring key political and administrative factors in the region determining how power structures operate, the degree of participation of non-public actors in the democratic debate, and the trust governments have from their citizens to deliver their mission. The indicators presented in this section allow to better understand how the power and political structures influence and shape digital government policies.

In the first place, the degree of autonomy of subnational governments provides a general indication of how political and administrative power is organised across the public sector and has important implications on the roles and responsibilities of local government in service delivery. Table 1.1 shows two main characteristics in LAC: first, a majority of countries (65%) have centralized systems (no autonomy) while only 35% provide different degrees of autonomy to subnational entities. Nonetheless, the six countries under the Autonomy category represent 80% of the total population of the sample of countries, which implies that subnational governments play a crucial role in public decision-making processes with an on the majority of citizens in the region. Second, when exploring the form of democratic governance, all Caribbean English-speaking countries have parliamentary systems, while all Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries have presidential systems. These characteristics are significant elements shaping the design and execution of policies and services within countries. From a regional perspective, the governance of digital government in LAC occurs mainly through presidential and centralised systems, meaning that central governments play a greater role in setting and co-ordinating digital government policies and services, but their efficacy depends on a harmonious relation between the executive and legislative branches. As for countries where subnational governments have a greater degree of autonomy, it is crucial to recognize the substantial variations that exist between municipalities, especially when comparing small rural municipalities to large, affluent municipalities, particularly cities. These disparities in resources, capacities, and capabilities will significantly impact the ability of local governments to provide efficient and effective services to their respective communities.

A second element considered in exploring the political and administrative context in LAC is the level of adherence to democratic principles and processes in the region. The OECD’s approach to digital government embeds democratic values such as participation, inclusiveness, and openness as core elements of the governance process. When examining the “democratic performance” and “civil society participation” measurements elaborated by International IDEA, it can be observed that a majority of countries in LAC perform on the mid-range level of the Global State of Democracy Indices (GSoD) while also having an above-world-average civil society participation score (see Figure 1.2). However, the results are modest when compared to the OECD numbers, where most countries are “high performing democracies” and have an average measurement for civil society participation greater than 65% of the analysed LAC countries. From a regional perspective, these findings suggest the need of strengthening the enabling conditions to foster greater participation in the design of digital government policies and services. It is advisable for countries to place greater emphasis on creating mechanisms that facilitate and encourage participation from civil society in shaping digital government efforts.

A third key element to consider when examining the contextual factors impacting digital government is the level of trust in government. Trust shapes governance processes as it indicates how people perceive the quality of, and how they associate with, government institutions in democratic countries (OECD, 2022[5]). The recent OECD Trust Survey found that people in two measured LAC countries (Colombia and Mexico) had consistent below-OECD average trust measures across different dimensions. For instance, in trusting their government to use their personal data for legitimate purposes, in expecting that their application for a government benefit or service would be treated fairly, or in confidence in public agencies adopting innovative ideas. These findings match those of Latinobarómetro, another measurement instrument present across more LAC countries, which found that trust in LAC governments has deteriorated in the past ten years (Figure 1.3). These results underscore that governments in the region might need to develop more concrete actions to build trust from citizens while developing and implementing digital government initiatives, such as making it a strategic objective of digital government strategies.

A fourth element is the political stability, particularly relevant for continuity of policies at the national level and the continued co-operation across borders. A government experiencing political continuity and stability is in a better position to develop and implement digital government policies with a long-term sustainable perspective (OECD, 2021[3]). Although measuring this concept across countries in all its amplitude can be challenging, a proxy indicator is the governing party orientations with respect to economic policy (see Figure 1.4). From a regional perspective, it is particularly important to note the cycles experienced by LAC countries across the previous five decades (i.e. a majority of right leaning countries peaking in the early 1990’s and majority of left leaning countries doing so by the mid-2010’s).3 Moments of greater coincidence in the economic policy orientation among governing parties can act as windows of opportunity for the development of common regional programmes and the strengthening of digital co-operation ties between governments. As of 2020 (last data available), the regional situation was mixed, with 6 countries classified as left, 6 as right, 2 as centre, and 3 not having information.

Finally, LAC countries have made significative progress in regional integration, a relevant element for regional digital co-operation. The region has various common institutions to strengthen international cross-border relations. These encompass political integration institutions;4 regional economic integration institutions;5 development banks;6 and international organisations and economic blocs7 also playing a key role in regional integration and policy coherence. As it will be seen in the following sections, some of these institutions are also playing an important role in setting broader digital agendas, as well as more specific digital government strategic instruments across the region. For instance, regional digital government networks have been greatly dynamized by the regional and international organisations, such as in the case of the Network of e-Government of Latin America and the Caribbean (GEALC Network) supported by the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (see Box 1.1) or the OECD’s Network on Open and Innovative Government in Latin America and the Caribbean (NOIG LAC)8. Moving forward, LAC countries have significant potential to leverage these international institutional capabilities and networks to foster digital government co-operation. More specifically, this involves enhancing the strategic alignment of national digital government strategies and regional digital government strategic instruments, both among themselves and with key digital priorities such as data sharing, services, privacy and security, and cross-border digital identity.

Digital government policies are highly influenced by the social and economic factors that shape the scope of digital progress in the region. This section presents an overview of the digital progress observed in LAC countries that inform digital government policymaking. To achieve this, the chapter explores critical variables such as the access and use of internet, human capital, telecommunications infrastructure, and the development of digital agendas.

At the broader spectrum of digital development, the positive correlation between per capita income level and access to and use of the internet in LAC (see Figure 1.5) suggests their close link to economic development. Countries in the region show mixed progress regarding access to and use of internet, with use being less unequal across the region than access. Out of the 5 Latin American countries whose internet access is measured by the OECD, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico remain among the lowest performers (ranging from 60.5% to 81.5% of all households having access to the internet in 2021), while Chile is an outlier with 87.5% in 2017 (OECD, 2023[9]).

Latin American countries underperform when measuring fixed (OECD, 2023[10]) and mobile (OECD, 2023[11]) broadband subscriptions. Looking at the whole region, the proportion of households with Internet access at home (via a fixed or mobile network) remains around the worldwide average of 66% in 2021 (ITU, 2022[12]). However, there is a substantial dispersion in this indicator among countries, with lowest performers ranging from 35-45% and highest performers above 90% (see Figure 1.5). This situation contrasts with the indicators measuring the number of individuals making use of internet, where LAC countries have done greater progress. Most of regional countries are above the world average of 66% in 2022 (ITU, 2022[12]) (see Figure 1.5) and almost doubling their usage metrics since 2010, but still lagging behind the OECD average of 84%.

While addressing the digital divide remains a crucial challenge, the LAC region has advanced in achieving a more equitable distribution of Internet access and use compared to other services such as secondary education, pensions, and income, although it still lags behind the more even distribution seen in sewerage and electricity (OECD et al., 2020[13]). Initiatives to tackle this dimension of the digital divide range from community networks and improved ICT services and infrastructure (i.e. enhanced competition, effective broadband expansion strategies, efficient spectrum allocation and infrastructure-sharing models) on the supply side, to direct Internet-only subsidies on the demand side (OECD et al., 2020, p. 126[13]).

Based on these numbers, the OECD Latin American Economic Outlook 2020 concluded that a series of policy measures were necessary to improve the digital transformation of LAC societies and economies, including: regional integration and co-ordination of digital development efforts; close the heterogeneity in digital transformation across regions and within countries to boost productivity, competitiveness and inclusion; and mitigate the digital divide by providing the infrastructure needed to expand access, supporting digital skills, and enabling access for traditionally excluded groups (OECD et al., 2020[13]). As it is developed further below, aligning the regional digital government agenda with the digital development and co-operation agendas can better leverage resources and create greater synergies among countries.

Data from the United Nations (UN) E-Government Survey offers another perspective and dimension into digital development across countries. The E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is based on three core indicators: the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII), the Human Capital Index (HCI), and the Online Services Index (OSI). Scores in the UN E-Government survey are also normalised and standardised, meaning that a score of 0.5 falls in the middle of the dispersion of country values across that index.9 Figure 1.6 presents LAC 2022 measurements for the three indexes. The comparison between the TII and the HCI indicates that countries have achieved greater progress in terms of human capital,10 but are still lagging on infrastructure development. As it is the case with internet access and use, countries with higher per capita income rates tend to perform better in both indices, although this is not the case for Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, which are still at lower levels on the HCI and TII versus their peers despite having relatively high-income levels.

The OSI offers valuable insights related to digital government. It encompasses five dimensions: the institutional framework, services provision, content provision, technology, and e-participation. Its relationship with key digital enablers like human capital and telecommunications infrastructure enables the identification of three primary country clusters:

  • A first cluster (including Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay) with higher progress in telecommunications and human capital, although uneven online services progress between countries in the south of the continent and those in the Caribbean region.

  • A second cluster including Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil with on average stronger online services capabilities but with lower telecommunications and human capital development.

  • And a third cluster including countries performing lower in the three indexes, such as Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Such a clustering approach facilitates the development of targeted actions for enhanced international co-operation, capacity transfer, and the establishment of shared goals. Countries that share similar situations in terms of human capital and telecommunications infrastructure have more propitious conditions to work together, either because they can share common objectives (work together to make progress on one or several indicators) or because they can collaborate with each other to equalise capacities (such as levelling the delivery of digital public services). Support to the third cluster can be mostly directed towards increasing the transfer of knowledge and capacities from the most advanced countries to the least, in particular from the second cluster which shares common features in terms of digital connectivity and human capital and has developed higher levels of experience and capabilities in terms of online government services.

Finally, the development of broader digital transformation agendas, both at the national and regional levels, is reconfiguring strategic priorities and policy approaches to improve the scope and quality of digitalisation across societies, economies and public sectors. Most recent digital government strategies are being highly influenced by the development of these agendas, as most of them consider the use of digital technologies in the public sector as one of their various strategic pillars. At the national level, these agendas are generally co-ordinated by high-level leadership positions, such as centralised responsibility above the ministerial level (Chile and Peru), lead ministries (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Paraguay) or special agencies under the control of the Presidency of the Republic (Bolivia, Panama and Uruguay) (OECD et al., 2020[13]). Among their strategic priorities, they generally include “issues related to infrastructure and access, e-government, digital skills and cybersecurity” (ECLAC, 2022, p. 79[16]).

On top of national digital agendas, the region has also experienced the development of regional digital agendas, such as the Pacific Alliance’s Roadmap for the Regional Digital Market, the MERCOSUR Digital Agenda Action Plan, the Andean Community’s Andean Digital Agenda, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) e-LAC Digital Agenda 2024. The most common topics on these regional agendas include the deployment of networks, innovation and entrepreneurship, digitalization of SMEs, emerging technologies, and cross-border flows of trade and data (ECLAC, 2022[16]). The last section of this chapter offers a more detailed analysis of digital government objectives and action lines outlined in these regional agendas.

The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies underlines the importance to “establish effective organisational and governance frameworks to co-ordinate the implementation of the digital strategy within and across levels of government”, such as “identifying clear responsibilities to ensure overall co-ordination of the implementation of the digital government strategy” (OECD, 2014[1]). Following the Recommendation and the OECD E-Leaders Handbook on Governance of Digital Government, this section presents a review of the institutional models adopted by LAC countries to shape and drive their digital government agendas. Evidence is analysed under two main categories.

  • First, the organisation-in-charge as the main responsible actor for leading the development of digital government policies and their implementation.

  • Second, the high-level co-ordination bodies in charge of institutional co-ordination at the very top, bringing together ministers and highest-ranking administrative agencies to extensively collaborate and align on the design and implementation of digital government data strategies and plans. Such types of bodies can normally take the form of steering committees, working groups, and task forces (OECD, 2021, p. 67[3]).

The success of digital government policies is highly dependent on clear and legitimate leadership. For this reason, the role of the organisation-in-charge of digital government is paramount to advance the degree of maturity of countries. There is no single institutional model which fits all the circumstances and therefore to be considered as the right one, but “it is most essential to have in place an organisation-in-charge of digital government with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, accountability mechanisms and strong relations with other public sector organisations” (OECD, 2021, p. 56[3]).

In fact, the OECD has documented different types of institutional set-ups, mostly varying between different types of institutions (e.g. a public sector agency, a unit, an office, a directorate, or a ministry) and different locations in the public sector structure, such as organisations under the presidency or the prime minister’s office at the centre of government, under a co-ordinating ministry (e.g. finance, public administration), or through a line ministry (e.g. digitalisation, science, technology). The E-Leaders Handbook on Governance of Digital Government identifies three main approaches that countries normally adopt according to their own contextual factors (see Box 1.2). Overall, the key maturity factors of the organisation-in-charge lie in its degree of leadership, political influence, and organisational stability (OECD, 2021[3]).

Countries in LAC show significant progress in establishing and strengthening organisations-in-charge of digital government across the central or federal level (Table 1.2). The OECD was able to confirm the presence of such institutions across 16 of the 17 countries under review for this report. In a slight majority of countries, this role has strong institutional connections with the highest level of power in the executive branch, either through institutions directly dependent from the centre of government (CoG)11 (Argentina, Mexico, and Peru) or through agencies with a higher degree of administrative autonomy (Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Uruguay), but whose governance is normally connected to the president’s office.

For instance, in Bolivia the Agency for Electronic Government and Information and Communication Technologies (AGETIC) is an independent agency but remains under guardianship of the Ministry of the Presidency. In Panama, the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG) depends on the National Council for Government Innovation, which includes among its members the President of the Republic, who also leads the Council. In Uruguay, the Agency for Electronic Government and the Information and Knowledge Society (AGESIC) is an executing unit with technical autonomy dependent on the Presidency of Uruguay. In the case of the Dominican Republic, the Government Office of Information and Communication Technologies (OGTIC) recently went from being under the CoG to becoming a decentralised unit of the Ministry of Public Administration (MAP).

In countries where the organisations-in-charge are directly at the CoG, they tend to have additional functions and mandates. In Argentina, digital government functions are spread across various Sub-secretaries of the Secretariat of Public Innovation of the Public Sector, which is also in charge of digital connectivity and telecommunications. In Mexico and Peru, the leading institutions are also in charge of the countries’ broader digital agendas.

In the rest of countries, the responsibility for steering the digital transformation of government is under line and co-ordinating ministries. Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago have line ministries in charge of the digital agenda, with specialised institutions entirely devoted to digital government. This is the case of Colombia’s Digital Government Directorate, Ecuador’s Undersecretary of Electronic Government and Civil Registry, and Paraguay’s General Directorate of Electronic Government. The Ministry of Digital Transformation in Trinidad and Tobago holds a comprehensive mandate encompassing digital government policies, as well as broader policies related to digital society and economy. In some countries, ministries in charge of science, technology, and innovation agendas are the ones responsible for digital government, such as Costa Rica’s Digital Governance Directorate and Jamaica’s ICT Division. Brazil and Chile are the only cases in the region where the responsibility for digital government is held by a co-ordinating ministry. For Brazil, this position corresponds to the Secretary of Digital Government of the newly stablished Ministry of Management and Innovation in Public Services, while in Chile to the Digital Government Division (DGD) of the Ministry General Secretariat of the Presidency (SEGPRES).

Another crucial aspect in analysing the organisations-in-charge of digital government lies in understanding how their mandates compare across key decision-making and advisory responsibilities (Table 1.3). Decision-making responsibilities “include the powers and duties to make important decisions with considerable accountability across the government” (OECD, 2021, p. 60[3]), allowing the organisation-in-charge to steer the implementation of digital government policies and projects in a coherent and consistent fashion. Advisory responsibilities support other government institutions in implementing digital government policies. Findings from the reviewed organisations-in-charge of digital government suggest that their mandates have a greater focus on advisory responsibilities, while decision-making responsibilities are less prominent across organisations. This suggests that in LAC, most central government institutions possess a higher degree of autonomy in making digital government decisions, rather than being under the purview of the leading digital government institution.

The most common decision-making responsibilities across organisations-in-charge of digital government include the (i) prioritisation of digital/ICT investment projects (73%), the (ii) management of the value proposition process of digital/ICT projects (73%), and the (iii) approval of digital/ICT projects (60%) across the central/federal government. However, only less than half of them have the capacity to (iv) mandate external reviews and (v) provide financial support for the development and implementation of digital/ICT projects across the central/federal government.

Regarding the advisory responsibilities, 90% of the analysed organisations are in charge of (vii) ensuring horizontal co-ordination of the central/federal public sector institutions involved in the implementation of the National Digital Government Strategy (NDGS), while 87% (ix) develop and oversee the adoption of common technical standards for the development of digital/ICT infrastructure and common enablers across the central/federal government and (x) advise public sector institutions at the central/federal level in the implementation of digital/ICT projects. To a lesser extent, 80% of the analysed organisations (vi) support the development of the NDGS and (xi) monitor the development of digital/ICT projects across national and/or subnational levels of government. Only 40% of the organisations-in-charge (xii) Co-ordinate with subnational governments the development of their digital/ICT strategies and projects. This is observed primarily in large and decentralised countries like Brazil,12 Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina, as well as in a few smaller and centralised countries like the Dominican Republic and Paraguay.

A strong organisation-in-charge of digital government close to the centre of government will normally have a robust and contextually adapted set of responsibilities enabling it to effectively drive the digital government agenda according to the needs and conditions of the country. The set of responsibilities and functions listed in Table 1.3 are those considered by the OECD as critical to better equip these institutions for this role. It is important to note that this indicator is limited to assessing the entities’ formal mandates. The organisations-in-charge of Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, and Paraguay stand as the ones with a larger scope of formal functions, while Costa Rica’s, Ecuador’s, and Jamaica’s stand as the ones with the weakest scope.

Driving and steering the digital government agenda across government also requires strengthening co-ordination between public sector institutions. Based on OECD best practices, the OECD E-Leaders Handbook on the Governance of Digital Government identifies the co-ordination and co-operation functions at high-level of government, but also at the organisational and technical levels, to assure the coherence and sustainability of the digital transformation of the public sector. High level co-ordination brings ministers and highest-ranking administrative officials to collaborate and align on the development and implementation of digital government strategies and plans. Organisational and technical co-operation addresses the systemic processes underlying the tactical and operational layers during the implementation stages (OECD, 2021[3]). This section explores the institutional design and responsibilities of such co-ordination bodies and mechanisms in LAC.

Compared to the maturity shown in establishing organisations-in-charge of the digital government agenda at the centre of government, LAC countries show less progress when it comes to the establishment of digital government co-ordination bodies (i.e., entities) or mechanisms (i.e. councils, committees). As presented in Table 1.4, more than half of the countries under review have such an institutional structure (71%, or 12 out of 17). Other countries in the region do not have such mechanism in place or it is currently not in operation. For example, in the case of Jamaica, although the government established an ICT Council,13 it is currently not functional.

The co-ordination bodies/mechanisms analysed in the context of this report are classified according to the institution that chairs them, their membership (particularly if they include subnational government institutions), and the scope of their mandate. Out of the 12 analysed structures, 7 are co-ordinated by the organisation-in-charge of digital government. In five countries it is another institution heading these bodies. In Colombia, the Council for Institutional Management and Performance is co-ordinated by the Administrative Department of the Civil Service; in the Dominican Republic, the Digital Transformation Cabinet is chaired by the President of the Republic, similarly to Panama’s National Council for Government Innovation; in Argentina’s Federal Council of Public Function (CoFeFuP) is chaired by the Secretary of Management and Public Employment of the Nation; and in Uruguay the Honorary Advisory Council for the Information Society does not have a formal chair.

This characteristic is also related to the scope of their mandates: in four of these countries and Peru, totalling 42% of the analysed countries, the co-ordination bodies also oversee other digital agendas different from digital government. In the case of the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Uruguay, digital government is addressed as a sub-set of their wider digital transformation agenda. In Argentina and Colombia, these co-ordination bodies are responsible for the management and performance of the civil service and public institutions, addressing the digital government agenda, for example, through special thematic commissions as in the case of Argentina’s CoFeFup’s Administrative Modernisation Commission, Open Government and Innovation Commission, and Technological Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Commission.

Finally, the OECD E-Leaders Handbook on the Governance of Digital Government suggests the inclusion of a wider level of participation, including relevant non-government stakeholders, to build more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable digital transformation agendas in the public sector. In LAC countries, 8 out of the 12 co-ordination bodies under review include different levels of governments among their members, such as subnational and local governments. This finding reflects the importance given to the integration of subnational governments while building a more inclusive and diverse structure to Co-ordinate digital government policies across levels of government.

Participants belong exclusively to the central level of government just in the case of Costa Rica’s High-level Commission of Digital Government of the Bicentennial,14 and Panama’s National Council for Government Innovation. In the case of Paraguay, the Co-ordination and Interoperability Committee for Electronic Government includes among its members participants from the legislative and judicial branches, broadening the spectrum of concerned public sector institutions. However, among its members there was no substantial participation from subnational governments.15 Uruguay is a particular case as its Honorary Advisory Council for the Information Society counts with the participation of non-governmental stakeholders, such as the academia and the private sector, but it only includes representatives from the central level of government among its public sector participants.

Summing up all the three evaluated criteria, Bolivia’s Council for Information and Communication Technologies of the Pluri-national State of Bolivia (CTIC-EPB), Brazil’s System for the Administration of Information Technologies Resources (SISP), Chile’s Network of Digital Transformation Coordinators and CIO Committee, Mexico’s Inter-secretarial Commission for Information and Communication Technologies and Information Security (CITICSI) stand as the only co-ordination bodies in LAC headed by the organisation-in-charge of digital government, dedicated exclusively to the digital transformation of the public sector, and including different levels of government among its members.

The existing co-ordination bodies/mechanisms across LAC countries have different characteristics and positions inside governments and there is no single model that should be regarded as the best practice, as these need to be tailored to each country’s institutional context. Furthermore, to obtain a comprehensive picture of the effectiveness of these bodies in influencing the development and implementation of digital government strategies, it is critical to take into consideration their decision-making and advisory responsibilities. Based on the formal functions and mandates defined for each body, Table 1.5 compiles the responsibilities the OECD was able to assess for the existing bodies across different areas, including setting the agenda, co-ordination, monitoring, and project implementation.

Only a minority of bodies have decision-making authority, while most of them mainly have advisory responsibilities. In terms of the decision-making authority, 50% of bodies have decision-making responsibilities over the (i) prioritisation of digital/ICT investment projects across the central/federal government. Costa Rica’s High-level Commission of Digital Government of the Bicentennial, Mexico’s CITICSI, and Panama’s National Council for Government Innovation are the only institutions that provide additional decision-making responsibilities, such as (ii) defining and assessing the value proposition process of digital/ICT projects (17% of the reviewed bodies/mechanisms), (iii) approving digital/ICT projects (17%), (iv) mandating external reviews (e.g. performance assessments) of such projects (8%), and (v) providing financial support for the implementation of such projects (e.g. digital investment funds) (8%).

On the advisory responsibilities, most of the analysed bodies (9 out of 12, or 75%) are responsible for (vii) ensuring horizontal co-ordination of public sector institutions at central/federal level involved in the implementation of the digital strategy. This is the case of Brazil’s SISP, which serves as a co-ordination body at the technical level to promote alignment among the federal-level organisations on digital government policies and practices. Some bodies also have more specific responsibilities regarding the development and implementation of the NDGS: 67% of the analysed bodies (vi) advise its development and 50% (viii) monitor its implementation. Another 50% (xi) advises public sector institutions on the implementation of digital/ICT projects, while 60% of the bodies under review also (xiii) Co-ordinate with subnational governments the development of digital/ICT projects aligned with the NDGS. At the lower end of the spectrum, only 42% (or 5 out of 12) bodies under review (x) develop and oversee the adoption of common technical standards for digital/ICT infrastructure, and 33% (or 4 out of 12) (ix) advise on the development and implementation of institutional digital strategies and (xii) monitor the development of digital/ICT projects across national and/or subnational levels of government.

Going forward, countries in LAC should consider increasing strengthening their institutional structures for co-ordinating and overseeing the development and implementation of digital government policies and initiatives. If not fully dedicated to digital government, these structures could have proper co-ordination functions on the development and implementation of digital government strategies. It would be advisable for co-ordination bodies to also expand the scope of engaged stakeholders, considering the inclusion of strategic non-governmental actors.

Delivering and implementing digital government policies also requires having the necessary instruments to support public sector entities in their digital transformation. Enacting this shift from setting the strategic objectives to the implementation of policies and delivery of services is achieved through policy levers such as the strategy and plan, regulations and standards, as well as project management tools and financial management mechanisms. Policy levers allow governments to increase their effectiveness and efficiency as they enable to create public value in a coherent and systemic way (OECD, 2021[3]). This section concentrates on evaluating two types of policy levers across LAC: (i) national and regional digital government strategies and (ii) regulations and standards, while Chapter 2 covers public investment processes, project management tools and financial mechanisms.

National strategies for digital government are a fundamental policy tool for coherent and sustainable co-ordination and execution of key actions and initiatives. Since Council’s Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies of 2014 (OECD, 2014[1]), the OECD has promoted the adoption of strategic approaches in the use of digital technologies and data towards open, participatory, and innovative governments. This section reviews the main characteristics and priorities set by LAC countries in their NDGS, as well as in regional or multilateral strategies. The analysis understands a strategy as a mechanism normally taking the form of a document (e.g., policy document, white paper) that defines the vision, objectives, goals, main actors, main actions and monitoring system (indicators) for a specific topic or policy area.16

Although not indispensable, having a dedicated NDGS is a choice that countries can take to enhance management and accountability over their digital government agenda. LAC countries have made important progress in adopting digital government strategies. The OECD was able to confirm the existence of a NDGS in 16 of the 17 countries under review (or 94%) (see Table 1.6). Of these, 63% have developed dedicated NDGS, while 37% of countries develop their strategic objectives and action lines on digital government as part of broader digital transformation agendas or strategies (Figure 1.7).

The few countries in LAC that do not have a dedicated NDGS, or do not have a strategy at all, are mainly countries with small public sectors relative the size of their economies.17 This seems to suggest a tendency to devote a more dedicated strategic approach to digital government when the government has a bigger relative weight in the economy. A similar trend is also visible geographically, with most South American countries and Barbados having a dedicated NDGS, while countries from the Caribbean region, Central America, and Paraguay either not having or having it as part of a broader digital transformation strategy.

On the typology of strategies, the case of Colombia and Peru is significant as they have adopted legal documents that frame the institutional approach and objectives towards digital government. Colombia has a digital government policy adopted through a government decree in 2022,18 while Peru has defined its strategic objectives through the General Government Policy from 2018, the Digital Government Law from 2018,19 and the Regulation of the Digital Government Law through a presidential decree in 2021.20

NDGS in LAC share common objectives and action lines. Countries are generally aiming at broader societal objectives such as improving citizens well-being, increasing the efficiency of the public sector, simplifying and enhancing access to public services, or improving collaboration and participation of citizens. At a more operational level, 10 common themes were identified among the strategies action lines, including: governance, services, data, innovation, and training, and developing and updating digital government infrastructure and capacities. Through a dedicated thematic analysis, these elements are further explored in a following sub-section and in Annex 1.A.

Further, 69% of the NDGS in LAC have key performance indicators (KPI’s) or monitoring instruments, in place, while 31% do not. This is a positive but modest result, as monitoring is a key element for the delivery of pertinent and accountable strategies. Among the different types of strategies, a majority of dedicated NDGS have these monitoring instruments in place, while the strategies embedded in broader transformation strategies tend not to have such monitoring instruments. This distinction results in a higher level of management and accountability for countries with dedicated strategies to advance their digital government agenda.

The results also indicate that many digital government strategies in LAC lack contemporaneity, as 45% of the analysed NDGS are from 2020 or earlier, 19% from 2021, and 36% from 2022.21 This suggests an important challenge in the region in making strategic approaches relevant, updated, and adapted to the changing technological, economic, and political landscape, particularly after the acceleration of digital transformation in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Finally, as LAC countries have progressed in the development of broader digital agendas, countries having dedicated NDGS are also aligning their digital government objectives with these broader policy objectives, generally through a digital transformation of government chapter or section.

For instance, Brazil recently published the Brazilian Strategy for Digital Transformation (E-Digital) for the 2022-2026 cycle,22 which includes a "Digital Transformation: citizenship and government" axis seeking to "Make the federal government more accessible to the population and more efficient in providing services to citizens, in line with the Digital Government Strategy." It also includes specific objectives on relevant issues for digital government, such as open data, data governance, interoperability, and evidence driven policies, digital identity, cloud, digitally competent teams, and infrastructure optimization.

Colombia also has a digital strategy including a line of action in digital government. The ICT Plan 2018-2022 'The Digital Future belongs to Everyone'23 included projects in areas such as open data, open-source software, digital security, service design and delivery (including digital identity, interoperability, central delivery platform), procurement, common digital architecture, guidelines improvement, and smart cities. It also considered a novel component on the development, use and application of science, technology and research, associated with the creation of a public information ecosystem. This component considers increasing the use, appropriation, and collaboration around digital services, as well as the development of new digital solutions for the public sector based on technology, science, and innovation.

In Ecuador, the country’s digital economy strategy, Ecuador Digital (2019), also embeds digital government related actions, such as digital services, cybersecurity, digital identification, and open data. Other countries are also including digital government as part of other national agendas. For instance, in the Dominican Republic, the National Development Strategy of the Dominican Republic 2030 considers digital government in two of its four axes, promoting interoperability in its governance line and promoting literacy and digital education, the production of content and free software focused on digital government in the economy line (Enriquez, 2022[18]).

Strategic approaches for digital government throughout the region are not limited to national strategies. In fact, LAC countries are promoting greater regional digital government integration through established multilateral arrangements and institutions. Table 1.7 compiles the current regional digital strategic instruments that include priorities or actions on digital government. MERCOSUR referenced strategy is not a formal document, but a working agenda defined periodically by the Digital Agenda Group (GAD). The Regional Digital Strategy from the Central America Integration System (SICA), adopted in 2022, is not explicitly focused on digital government but on the broader digital transformation of the region, although it contains elements that support the digital transformation of the public sector. In the case of the GEALC Network (see Box 1.1), a regional Action Plan was approved during the VII Ministerial Meeting (2022) and its objectives are in line with network’s priority areas. Finally, ECLAC’ Digital Agenda 2024 (e-LAC 2024) was approved during the Eighth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo in November 2022, where countries committed to strengthening regional co-operation activities in digital matters.24

Of all the analysed strategies, only GEALC Network’s Action Plan for 2023 is entirely dedicated to digital government, as it is a regional network devoted exclusively to the subject (Box 1.1). The rest of regional strategies include digital government as a section. Only 33% of the strategies under review include KPI’s or a monitoring instrument. Of recent adoption (the earliest one dates to 2020), these initiatives share common objectives, generally around economic development and synchronising the progress of digital transformation in the region. Looking at their proposed lines of action, they are mostly focused on sharing of data (mostly through interoperability schemes and open data) and of digital infrastructure (digital identification, signatures, or public software) and cross-border digital services. Initiatives among the strategies include ECLAC’s Digital Agenda focus on subnational digital government and citizen-centred, proactive and omnichannel services; MERCOSUR’s focus on emerging technologies; Andean Community’s objective of issuing policies to promote cyber and information security by adopting international standards; or GEALC Network’s actions around public innovation. A comparative analysis of these action lines is explored in the following sub-section.

The development of digital government strategies across countries and multilateral institutions in LAC has resulted in a multiplicity of priorities. Working towards a regional approach for digital government co-operation, unlocking synergies, and better focalising efforts requires understanding their common and diverging points. This section provides a thematic assessment of all national strategies and analyses them in the context of the key contextual factors reviewed in the first section. A detailed methodological explanation of the procedure and limitations of this analysis is contained in Annex 1.A.

Table 1.8 shows how the action lines of country and regional strategies in LAC match 10 common themes identified through a clustering exercise. Countries or organisations at the top have a greater number of action lines in their strategies, and themes (rows) towards the top cluster a greater number of action lines across NDGS and regional strategic instruments. While a greater number of action lines clustered under a theme suggests a greater priority across the region, a greater amount of action lines per country or organisation does not necessarily indicate greater quality or relative effort of strategies. The choice of action lines done by each country and organisation is linked to their strategic priorities, contextual factors, and available resources.

Results show that most lines of action of the analysed strategies in LAC are concentrated in three themes: governance, services, and innovation. The lowest number of action lines in LAC strategies are devoted to public service training, open data, and interoperability. This order of priorities is the same when focusing solely on country strategies. Nevertheless, when examining exclusively regional strategies, the top three themes surfacing their action lines are government services, public innovation, and open data, followed by governance, privacy and security, interoperability, and infrastructure. At the regional level, no action lines are dedicated to public service training, and just a few are dedicated to data and digital identity.

When counting the number of countries and organisations having at least one action line corresponding to a specific theme, 86% have action lines for services, 82% for governance, and 77% for privacy and security, suggesting a shared strategic interest in LAC digital government strategies around these topics. Other common topics across most of the analysed strategies include infrastructure (73%), public innovation (59%), data (50%), and interoperability (50%). A minority of the strategies include digital identity (45%), open data (45%), and public service training (23%). A similar degree of shared strategic priorities is present when looking exclusively at country strategies. However, common priorities across regional strategic instruments considerably change, with open data being the most common theme shared by 83% of the analysed instruments, followed by services (67%), and privacy and security (67%). Half of the regional instruments contain at least one action line both on public innovation and governance, and a minority do it for infrastructure (33%), digital identity (33%), data (17%), and public service training (0%).

The comparative thematic analysis across NDGS and regional strategic instruments shows shared priorities among governance, services, privacy and security, innovation, and infrastructure. At a regional level, open data stands out as another common priority. Furthermore, a closer inspection at each theme reveals deeper information about the common and different approaches taken by strategies.25 The governance theme clusters a variety of action lines related to the institutional or strategic arrangements necessary to carry out digital government policies. Various countries seek to work at the institutional structure and the regulatory framework levels. Another sub-cluster of action lines relates to digital investments, project management, government procurement, or performance monitoring. Some countries include action lines about participation and the involvement of citizens and external stakeholders. Finally, some countries also focus on the co-ordination of the digital government agenda with subnational governments.

Almost 90% of the strategies under review include some action line belonging to the services cluster. Most of the action lines are dedicated to online and digital services, with some additional efforts on simplification and quality improvement. In line with the analysis developed in Chapter 4, most LAC strategies still focus on the development of core building blocks and administrative simplification with a government-centric mindset, unlike most OECD countries where the trend is moving towards giving a more prominent role to user research and user-centric design in the digitalisation of government services. More specific action lines in some countries include omnichannel approaches, user experience, and agile services. No action lines in LAC countries are explicitly embedding OECD’s digital-by-design approach26 in their conception of service design and delivery. Additionally, some countries include sector specific action lines, such as the development of services for education, health, territorial cadastre, or subnational governments. Finally, regional strategies have a strong focus on cross-border digital services.

The public innovation cluster considers action lines comprehending innovation, collaboration, engagement and empowerment of citizens with digital tools, the use of emerging technologies, and the promotion of open government approaches. A practical example of this cluster is reflected in the creation of public digital innovation labs created across various LAC countries, as documented in Chapter 5. In contrast to other popular clusters, the privacy and security cluster includes a more homogeneous set of action lines dedicated to increasing government digital security capabilities and safeguards for the protection of privacy and personal data of citizens. The infrastructure cluster dwells on improving the core digital infrastructure for the delivery of digital government policies, including cloud, public software, digital architecture, or connectivity.

Among the less covered clusters, open data stands out for its prevalence among regional strategies. Action lines generally focus on the publication of open datasets and the promotion of their re-use. In the case of Costa Rica, the country has a special sectorial focus on promoting open mobility data. The data cluster includes action lines about data-driven policies and decision-making, data management and governance, and data analytics. The interoperability cluster contains action lines generally dedicated to the integration of information systems, with a particular focus from Ecuador on the interoperability at the subnational level, in Chile with the reduction of queues through the proactive sharing of information among public institutions, and the Pacific Alliance’s focus on interoperability for foreign trade. Finally, the digital identity and public service training clusters cover a set of homogenous action lines promoting digital identity systems and the development of digital skills on public servants, respectively.

Although countries share common themes, there are important nuances and differences in how strategies develop their priorities. For instance, Mexico and Uruguay have a dedicated objective on digital inclusion and Peru’s strategy includes R&D in digital government, two unique priorities across the Region. In Panama, digital government measures are conceived as horizontal enablers across its National Digital Agenda to "establish the foundations of the digitization of the country in a transversal way". In this sense, their six digital government focus areas are conceived to support the more sector-focused priorities of the digital agenda, such as economic reactivation lines of action (including actions on social, entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability areas) and impact sectors (including logistics, health, justice, finance, and education). Costa Rica’s strategy also defines sector-focused priorities for digital government, such as in health and mobility. In the context of digital government infrastructure, Mexico emphasizes the importance of technological autonomy. In Paraguay, component 4 of the Digital Agenda emphasises governance through the strengthening of the institutional framework and government capacity for the development of the Digital Agenda, specifically focusing on the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communication (MITIC). At a minor degree, some countries also stress the importance of refitting their digital government governance institutional structure and collaboration with subnational governments. Chile has a strong priority towards simplification and digitalisation, based on law no. 21,180 on the Digital Transformation of the State that has fully entered into force from December 2021, which sets a formal requirement for all administrative procedures to be expressed through the electronic means established by law, except for legal exceptions.

Finally, some countries also have some specific actions and tasks containing topics that might not be evident in the core action lines analysed in this sub-section. For instance, Panama’s strategy contains below its general priority lines a wide set of specific tasks and commitments touching on elements of digital services, digital identity, interoperability, open data, and public service training. In Brazil, the NDGS included a distinct goal of migrating services from a minimum of thirty agencies to the cloud, a task that was successfully accomplished by 2022. Through other strategies, some countries have also developed action lines in topics that are not visible in Table 1.8. For example, Uruguay seeks to make the use of national integrated systems for digital identity widespread in the country, an action line developed in their digital agenda rather than in their NDGS.27 In the case of Mexico, interoperability and open data are primarily developed through the Transparency, Open Government and Open Data Policy of the Federal Public Administration 2021 – 2024,28 and public service training is considered in the Agreement setting technical dispositions for IT implementation in the Federal Public Administration.29

Governments in LAC can also leverage regulations and legislations to advance the implementation of the digital government agenda. These can be a diverse set of instruments by which governments set requirements on businesses and citizens, including laws, decrees, formal orders, subordinate rules, administrative acts and rules issued by non-governmental or regulatory bodies to whom governments have delegated regulatory powers.30 However, setting a normative framework for digital government does not mean effective implementation in practice. While not addressed in this chapter, countries should acknowledge the “assessment of the actual outcomes from regulations against their rationales and objectives” (OECD, 2020, p. 10[19]), as advised by the OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy.

Evidence in the region shows that most countries have made progress covering in their legislations’ topics such as privacy and data protection, transparency and access to information, digital signature, e-procurement, cybersecurity, administrative simplification and rationalisation of services, digital government, and open government data (Figure 1.8). About 75% of the analysed countries have covered topics such as ICT procurement, sharing of government data, digital documents, interoperability, and digital inclusion. On the other side of the spectrum, less common topics across LAC (covered by less than 40% of the analysed countries) include access to private sector information/data, digital by design, legal and/or regulatory sandboxes, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies, or the right to challenge (i.e., ability to apply for exemptions from existing rules, or ability to request rules be reconsidered).

Topics related with advanced digital capabilities and proactive and anticipatory approaches are mostly present among the most digitally mature countries in LAC. These include issues such as digital inclusion, digital identity, once-only principle, open by default, base data registries, digital right to interact digitally with the public sector, and experimentation. Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Brazil are the countries covering the widest number of issues in their legislations. With fewer policy coverage in their legislations, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Panama, and Jamaica still have room to improve.

Looking forward, developing a trustworthy digital government increasingly requires setting the necessary safeguards for the ethical use of technology and data by public servants and decision makers. LAC countries are showing promising progress in adopting normative frameworks for digital rights. For instance, as it was documented by the OECD and CAF, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay were found to be the most mature countries in the region when comparing legislation and ethical frameworks related to the use of AI in the public sector. Yet, more than half of the analysed countries either have some initial capacities or require significant effort and support on the matter (OECD/CAF, 2022[20]; CAF, 2021[21]). Another relevant example is the recognition of either new rights or existing rights applied to the digital space. Peru’s Charter of Digital Rights is the first official initiative in the region covering a set of rights to guide the development of the digital transformation of the country. Similarly, the Ibero-American Charter of Principles and Rights in Digital Environments sets the ground for a common understanding of principles and values guiding the development of legislation and public policies in the realm of digital environments (Box 1.3).

The thematic analysis of action lines presented in the ‘Common digital government priorities’ sub-section was developed through the following procedure.

  1. 1. Action lines were identified across all strategies. They are understood as the highest-level action-oriented statements contained in each strategy, meaning they are the actionable priorities of each country (e.g. “Increase the use of the cloud and government network”).

  2. 2. The action lines were synthetised using qualitative codes (Annex Table 1.A.1).

  3. 3. Codes where then clustered according to their similarity, leading to ten overarching topics (Annex Table 1.A.2).

  4. 4. Annex Table 1.A.3 was created classifying all country codes on their corresponding category.

  5. 5. To obtain the heatmap presented in Table 1.8, each comma-separated code was assigned a value of 1. The sum of all codes in each cell determined the colour intensity. Cells with the highest values scored 4, while those with the lowest scored 0. Values were also used to determine the order of rows (countries/organisations) and columns (categories). Countries/organisations with the highest number of codes are positioned at the top. Similarly, categories with the highest number of codes are positioned at the left.

It is important to note that, as this analysis seeks to compare actionable priorities of countries, one resulting limitation is derived from the different structures of all strategies. For comparison purposes, it can provide a more profound examination of those strategies with clear and specific action lines, potentially overlooking the full richness of content that strategies with more generic action lines may also contain. To manoeuvrer this limitation, additional references to relevant content of some strategies are also included as examples.


[21] CAF (2021), Experiencia: Datos e Inteligencia Artificial en el sector público, Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean, https://scioteca.caf.com/handle/123456789/1793.

[7] Corporación Latinobarómetro (2021), Latinobarometro, https://www.latinobarometro.org/lat.jsp (accessed on 22 January 2023).

[16] ECLAC (2022), A Digital Path for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Economic Commission for Latin America, https://repositorio.cepal.org/handle/11362/48461 (accessed on 14 January 2023).

[18] Enriquez, A. (2022), “Gobierno digital: pieza clave para la consolidación de Estados democráticos en los países del SICA”, Estudios y Perspectivas 196, p. 95, https://www.cepal.org/es/publicaciones/47811-gobierno-digital-pieza-clave-la-consolidacion-estados-democraticos-paises-sica.

[23] Gob.pe (2022), Carta Peruana de Derechos Digitales, https://www.gob.pe/institucion/pcm/informes-publicaciones/3302991-carta-peruana-de-derechos-digitales.

[4] IADB (2021), The Database of Political Institutions 2020 (DPI2020), Inter-American Development Bank, https://data.iadb.org/DataCatalog/Dataset#DataCatalogID=11319/11048 (accessed on 7 January 2023).

[6] International IDEA (2022), Data Set and Resources, Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices, https://www.idea.int/gsod-indices/dataset-resources (accessed on 17 January 2023).

[12] ITU (2022), Households with Internet Access at Home, ITU DataHub, International Telecommunication Union, https://datahub.itu.int/data/?i=12047 (accessed on 8 January 2023).

[10] OECD (2023), “Fixed broadband subscriptions (indicator)”, https://doi.org/10.1787/902e48ee-en (accessed on 8 January 2023).

[9] OECD (2023), “Internet access (indicator)”, https://doi.org/10.1787/69c2b997-en (accessed on 8 January 2023).

[11] OECD (2023), “Mobile broadband subscriptions (indicator)”, https://doi.org/10.1787/1277ddc6-en (accessed on 8 January 2023).

[5] OECD (2022), Building Trust to Reinforce Democracy: Main Findings from the 2021 OECD Survey on Drivers of Trust in Public Institutions, Building Trust in Public Institutions, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/b407f99c-en.

[22] OECD (2022), “Rights in the digital age: Challenges and ways forward”, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 347, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/deb707a8-en.

[3] OECD (2021), The E-Leaders Handbook on the Governance of Digital Government, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/ac7f2531-en.

[19] OECD (2020), Reviewing the Stock of Regulation, OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/1a8f33bc-en.

[17] OECD (2019), “Classification and definition of occupations”, in Government at a Glance 2019, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/52331561-en.

[26] OECD (2015), Government at a Glance 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/gov_glance-2015-en.

[1] OECD (2014), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, OECD/LEGAL/0406, OECD, Paris, https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/OECD-LEGAL-0406.

[2] OECD (2005), Modernising Government: The Way Forward, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264010505-en.

[20] OECD/CAF (2022), The Strategic and Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector of Latin America and the Caribbean, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/1f334543-en.

[13] OECD et al. (2020), Latin American Economic Outlook 2020: Digital Transformation for Building Back Better, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/e6e864fb-en.

[8] Red GEALC (n.d.), Homepage, Red de gobierno electrónico de América Latina y el Caribe, https://www.redgealc.org/ (accessed on 15 January 2023).

[24] SEGIB (2023), Carta Iberoamericana de Principios y Derechos en Entornos Digitales, Secretaría General Iberoamericana, https://www.segib.org/?document=carta-iberoamericana-de-principios-y-derechos-en-entornos-digitales.

[25] SEGIB (2023), “Culmina la XXVIII Cumbre Iberoamericana con acuerdos en medioambiente, seguridad alimentaria, derechos digitales y financiamiento internacional”, Secretaría General Iberoamericana, https://www.segib.org/culmina-la-xxviii-cumbre-iberoamericana-con-acuerdos-en-medioambiente-seguridad-alimentaria-derechos-digitales-y-financiamiento-internacional/.

[15] UN DESA (2022), E-Government Survey 2022: The Future of Digital Government, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2022.

[27] World Bank (2022), Expense (% of GDP), World Bank, Washington, DC, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GC.XPN.TOTL.GD.ZS?view=chart (accessed on 9 January 2023).

[14] World Bank (2022), World Development Indicators, World Development Indicators (WDI) Database, World Bank, Washington, DC, https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators/preview/on (accessed on 21 January 2023).


← 1. According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), weak democracy refers to countries that score low on one or more of their democratic attributes (unless they score high on four out of five attributes) : Representative Government, Fundamental Rights, Checks on Government, Impartial Administration, and Participatory Engagement. A mid-range performing democracy refers to a country with low performance on any attribute (GSoD score <0.4) and not high on all 5 (GSoD score >0.7). A high performing democracy, which is not the case of the analised countries, refers to a country that have high performance (GSoD score >0.7) on all 5 democratic attributes. (Source: https://www.idea.int/gsod-indices/sites/default/files/gsod-methodology-november-2020.pdf).

← 2. “The measurement of civil society participation relies on six V-Dem indicators. They result from an expert survey and consider the extent to which the population is engaged in civil society activities, including political associations and independent trade unions. The six indicators on civil society participation were clearly tapped into a common dimension and aggregated into an index using BFA” (Source: https://www.idea.int/gsod-indices/sites/default/files/inline-files/global-state-of-democracy-indices-codebook-v6.pdf).

← 3. Particularly to note, Chile (2014-2020), Colombia (2003-2018) and Venezuela (1994-2020) are classified by the IDB as not having information or not applying to the left/centre/right categories.

← 4. Such as the OAS (Organisation of American States), the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), or the Central American Integration System (SICA).

← 5. Such as the Andean Community (CAN), Central American Common Market (CACM), Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and the Pacific Alliance.

← 6. Such as the IDB, CAF, or CABEI (Central American Bank for Economic Integration).

← 7. Such as the OECD (including Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica as member countries, and Brazil and Peru as accession countries), USMCA (US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement), APEC (including Mexico, Peru and Chile as member countries), or CARICOM (Caribbean Community).

← 8. https://www.oecd.org/gov/open-government-in-latin-america-and-caribbean.htm.

← 9. Further methodological information about the index, the base data points, and its measurement can be found in: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/Portals/egovkb/Documents/un/2016-Survey/Annexes.pdf.

← 10. It is noteworthy to mention that the HCI measurement does not include digital skills.

← 11. “Centre of government (CoG) refers to the administrative structure that serves the Executive (president or prime minister, and the cabinet collectively)” (OECD, 2015, p. 94[26]).

← 12. Although the formal functions of Brazil’s Ministry of Management and Innovation in Public Services include the co-ordination with subnational governments the development of their digital/ICT strategies and projects, in information exchanges held within the scope of this report, the OECD was told that there is yet not sound mechanisms to ensure that all state and municipal level institutions follow the guidelines issued by the federal government. However, it is expected that the upcoming National Digital Government Strategy, to be launched in the end of 2023, will involve co-ordination between all levels of government.

← 13. https://jis.gov.jm/ict-council-established-to-spearhead-re-organisation-of-government-operations/.

← 14. However, it is worth noting that the High-level Commission includes three experts that could come from the civil society, private sector or other non-governmental sector.

← 15.  https://www.datos.gov.py/dataset/integrantes-del-comite-de-coordinacion-e-interoperabilidad-para-el-gobierno-electronico-2022.

← 16. OECD Survey on Digital Government 2.0, Glossary.

← 17. There is a positive correlation of 0.7 between the existence of a dedicated NDGS and the size of the public sector, measured as the public spending as a percent of the country’s GDP (Source: author calculations with data from (World Bank, 2022[27])).

← 18. https://www.mintic.gov.co/portal/715/articles-210461_recurso_1.pdf.

← 19. https://www.gob.pe/institucion/pcm/normas-legales/289706-1412.

← 20. https://www.gob.pe/es/institucion/pcm/normas-legales/1705101-029-2021-pcm.

← 21.  It is worth noting that, as of the data collection closure for this section in December 2022, certain countries were in the midst of updating their strategies. For instance, Chile was working on a new strategy, the Agenda for the Modernization of the State 2022-2026.

← 22.  https://www.gov.br/mcti/pt-br/acompanhe-o-mcti/transformacaodigital/arquivosestrategiadigital/e-digital_ciclo_2022-2026.pdf.

← 23. https://www.redgealc.org/site/assets/files/10945/plan_tic_2018_2022_20200107.pdf.

← 24.  https://www.cepal.org/en/pressreleases/countries-region-approved-digital-agenda-latin-america-and-caribbean-elac2024.

← 25. See Annex Table 1.A.1 for a detailed list of action lines per country and per theme.

← 26. Digital by design approach refers to a situation where digital technologies and a digital mind set are rooted in the government. This means that a digital mind set and digital technologies are systematically applied to rethink, improve and simplify the formulation of public policies, the designing of public services and the delivery of those services. However, this does not mean that digital/online channels are mandatory to access a public service, but that rather digital channels broaden the scope of choices citizens have to access a public service and so interact in the most efficient way with public authorities (based on their preferences, i.e. preferred channel of interaction) (source: Glossary of the OECD Survey on Digital Government 2.0).

← 27. https://www.gub.uy/uruguay-digital/en/comunicacion/publicaciones/uruguay-digital-agenda-2025.

← 28. https://funcionpublica.gob.mx/web/transparencia/Politica_de_Transparencia_Gobierno_Abierto_y_Datos_Abiertos_de_la_APF_2021-2024.pdf

← 29. https://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5628885&fecha=06/09/2021#gsc.tab=0

← 30. OECD Survey on Digital Government 2.0, Glossary.

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