Latin American Statistics
$18/month, lowest in Latin America (12)
The term "digital divide" refers to a common problem among many developing and emerging nations where large segments of the population do not have access to technology. The most common examples are the Internet, telephones, and computers.
Brazil is no exception to this problem. There are large sections of the country that do not have phones and electricity. Much of this is in the northern and central section of the country near the Amazon and mountain ranges. The Brazilian population is over 80% urban, and there is a very distinct economic divide. The top 5% of the population control well over 50% of the national economy. Approximately 2% of the population has a computer. (7)
Brazil also very well known for its very large poor population. Poverty is one of the most pressing issues for the Brazilian government to tackle. Poverty seen clearly in the Amazon region and in urban areas. In urban areas such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, there are huge neighborhoods called "favelas". These are slums where large populations of the poor live in very bad conditions. Sometimes these "favelas" can stretch for miles.
Another topic that needs to be addressed is education problems. The literacy rate of Brazil is 83% (6). While this is not bad, there needs to be improvement. There also needs to be advancement in secondary and university education on technology and research. See the IT Workforce section.
Narrowing the Divide:
One of the actions taken by the Brazilian government to combat this divide is the "Popular PC Project". This project gives Brazil's public centers, such as libraries, schools, and health centers. This will help give more access to underserved citizens. The "Popular PC" is a barebones personal computer. It comes with all of the necessary hardware minus storage capacity (hard drives and floppy drive). There is also a plan set up by many of the local banks to allow citizens to buy their own using a payment plan of about $15/month for 24 months. (8)
Ivan Moura Campos, chairman of the Internet Steering Committee of Brazil and the mastermind behind Brazil's Popular PC project, speaking of the project said, "We realized this was not a First World problem. We were not going to find a Swedish or a Swiss company to solve this for us. We would have to do it ourselves." (8)
This project has been receiving some push back from critics. As described in "digital divide" section of this report, Brazil has many significant problems that need to be addressed besides computer/Internet usage. The critics of the program want to see more investment in education and helping the poor rather than an initiative to gain more access to the Internet. The government still continues to make this a priority. In 2001, the Brazilian government spent $400 million to expand Internet usage in Brazil.
Brazilian government website:
(6) CIA World Factbook, http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/br.html
(7) Spence, Jerimiah. “Access in Brazil”, Trends in Latin American Networking , http://lanic.utexas.edu/project/tilan/reports/rtf359/brazil1.html. May 2001.
(8) “Low Cost Computers for the People”, Digital Divide Network , http://www.digitaldividenetwork.org/content/stories/index.cfm?key=178. August 27, 2001.
(9) Brazil Boasts 14 Million Online”, The Big Picture Geographics , http://cyberatlas.internet.com/big_picture/geographics/article/0,,5911_2205881,00.html. May 14, 2003.
(12) “Brazil: Gender Best Practices”, Cisco Learning , http://gender.ciscolearning.org/bestpractices/latinamerica/brazil.html. 2001.
(40) "E-Commerce Readiness and Diffusion: The Case of Brazil", Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, http://www.crito.uci.edu/publications/pdf/gec/brazil.pdf.
(41) Image: "A Century of Poverty in Rio's Favelas", CNN, http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9708/07/brazil.favela.anniversary/. August 7, 1997.
"Use of E-Commerce Technologies" (40)
"Enterprise Integration Strategy" (40)
"Use of E-Commerce Technologies" (40)
Kogod School of Business
Last Update: December 10, 2003