Digital economy is literally how we use the internet, globalization and connectivity to boost the exchange of goods and services worldwide. The gate to accomplish this came in the shape (or not really) of “The Cloud”. This imaginary universe where several online tools are available pretty much “on demand”, helps organizations to focus on their core business instead of investing on high cost IT infrastructure.
As my always reliable source says (aye, Wikipedia BRO!), The Cloud has its advantages: high-computing power, cheap cost of services, high performance, scalability, accessibility as well as availability. Therefore, it makes sense that governments shall use this to improve their finances, accounting services, budget planning, projects development and general management. Right?
It makes sense, however, underdeveloped countries see The Cloud as “risky” and “unreliable” for matters that should (as they say) be managed under internal scrutiny. Arguing that confidential information shouldn’t be put on a “hackeable” platform, countries such as Mexico pretty much underline their biggest fears: transparency and accountability.
According to http://www.transparency.org/, Mexico is ranked 95 out of 168 countries in terms of Corruption Perception, where it scores 35/100 in its Corruption Index (Scores range from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean)). As well, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention claims that Mexico does very little to enforce or combat bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.
In terms of controlling corruption, Transparency International published that Mexico ranked bellow average (with a -0.35%, where point estimates range from about -2.5 to 2.5. Higher values correspond to better governance outcomes), meaning that the extent to which public power is exercise for private gain is high.
If Mexico were to adopt the trends that digital economy brings, the availability of public information, budget and infrastructure expenses (as well as public officials salaries and benefits) through The Cloud will clearly reduce Mexico’s perception of being a very corrupt country.
Don’t forget that other technologies such as Data Mining, Mobile Applications and Forensic Tools are helping the international community to fight corruption. To simplify this let me quote a paragraph from a fantastic article written by Lauren Silveira (Weforum, April 18th of 2016):
“Technology is being used to create transparency across organizations by increasing automation, accuracy and frequency across processes. International organizations are at the forefront of this revolution developing innovative software to detect and deter fraud and collusion. As identified by the United Nations, more accessible and better quality data will lead to improved policy decisions and greater accountability and several of their recent reports outline how the data revolution will be incorporated into sustainable development commitments.” – L Silveira 2016
When The Economist published its article “The Mexican Morass” criticizing Peña Nieto’s administration, its high corruption levels and lack of accountability, they add this incredible statement: They don’t get that they don’t get it. Since then (January 2015), Peña Nieto has done nothing to move public budget, expenses and judicial information into open tools such as The Cloud or Big Data. The solution to fight corruption and federal fraud is right there. It seems that Peña’s resilience to move into that direction implies several conflicts of interests, frauds and lack of federal budget management.
Underdevelopment is a condition most countries experience not due to poor international competitiveness or unfair regional trade agreements, some countries struggle because of greedy and shortsighted leaders, and Mexico is an example of this.