The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit based in Geneva, Switzerland. The group's states purpose is that members are “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas."
Each year the WEF pops up in the news because of their annual meetings at Davos, a mountain resort in beautiful Graubünden. No one is really sure what happens at these meetings, but they do bring together the world’s biggest names in finance, business, politics and journalism to kick around the “most pressing issues facing the world”.
An inevitable result of these high-level coffee klatches is a slew of written reports, read only by a handful of stodgy nebbishes. One such missive is the Global Information Technology Report (GITR).
The GITR attempts to assess the state of networked readiness for 143 economies using what is not surprisingly called the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) — a higher level of income is typically associated with a higher NRI score. They basically report on the transformative role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in supporting economic and societal development in a nation.
As expected, advanced economies like Singapore, the United States, Japan, South Korean, Australia, and Western European countries are the ones that have benefited the most from ICTs.
One region making strides in expanding and utilizing ICTs is Latin America and the Caribbean. Although Haiti, for a number of obvious reasons, continues to struggle (137th) other regional players are climbing the ranks. Chile (38th) is the regional leader and, in an encouraging trend, 14 of the 23 countries in the region have increased their NRI since last year; 19 of them have done so since 2012.
Some of the best NRI improvements since 2012 came from Costa Rica (49th, up nine spots since 2012), Panama (51st, up six), El Salvador (80th, up 23), Peru (90th, up 16), and Bolivia (111th, up 16).
Many Latin American and Caribbean governments are working hard to update and improve their laws and educational systems to better enable ICTs to spread throughout their citizenry. As ICTs become more widely used and relied upon, a nation’s economy grows. They fundamentally alter the manner in which people communicate, interact and engage with one another, their governments and the rest of the world as well. As importantly, ICT use fosters entrepreneurship that leads to the creation of businesses and job opportunities for those with the technical know-how.
The best way to gain this crucial technical know-how is training, and that’s where TestOut comes in. TestOut recently teamed with a non-profit organization, Cause for Hope – One Life at a Time, which has the goal of assisting individuals in developing countries to “achieve lasting self-reliance through online and classroom based job market education and one-on-one mentoring.”
If the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, then Cause for Hope understands that changing a country begins with changing one individual. That’s why they are utilizing Desktop Pro courseware in Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua to help participants develop valuable IT skills to enable them to land entry-level posiitons with businesses and to provide for themselves and their families.
Whether one lives in a Silicon Valley or rural Mexico TestOut is making a difference through education using breakthrough technology.
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. He dares you to try to prove that he is a stodgy nebbish.