• Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Mexico, and Colombia are the most digitally advanced nations in Latin America.
  • The region must close gaps in digital connectivity, financial inclusion, and infrastructure to improve its digital momentum.


Miami, November 27th, 2018 – With the number of Internet users worldwide crossing 4 billion, the global digital economy has become a space of immense opportunity. Consequently, being digitally competitive has become a priority for governments, businesses, and citizens.

Mastercard and The Fletcher School at Tufts University present the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) edition of the Digital Evolution Index (DEI). The region is experiencing a digital growth spurt. Nearly half of the 24 LAC markets included in the study demonstrate moderate momentum. A few countries are advancing rapidly: Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia are leading the way, both in the state of digital evolution and their rate of progress i.e., digital momentum. These five countries are propelled by the relative stability of their institutions, pockets of innovation, and recent improvements in information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure to cater to the growing demand for digital goods and services.

This in-depth regional analysis includes a study of the pace of digital evolution of 24 LAC countries, across four key drivers of supply, demand, institutional environment and innovation.  It utilizes data over 10 years (2008 – 2017) to create an overall digital evolution score and digital momentum score.

“We decided to focus our digital evolution research lens on the LAC because the region is at a point of inflection. After 15 years of commodities-led expansion at the start of this century, the region is poised for consumption-led growth in the coming decade, and is expected to account for over 5% of global consumption growth by 2030. For this to be true, digital products and services will have to be a significant part of the consumption basket. The aim of this research is to provide policymakers and businesses with data rich insights to enable them to unlock the tremendous potential for economic growth through digital advancement in this region,” affirmed Dr. Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and Founding Executive Director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context.

“This data-driven comparison of the digital evolution of LAC countries with each other and with global peers is key to distilling best practices to close gaps across drivers of digital momentum; identifying opportunities to leapfrog; and facilitating collaborative decision-making by policymakers and businesses to advance the digital economy of the region,” said Carlo Enrico, president of Mastercard’s LAC region.

“Adoption, the quality of digital infrastructure and institutions, and innovation collectively shape a country’s digital competitiveness. Governments and businesses play a vital role in steering the digital progress of nations. Consumers in LAC, in particular, will benefit tremendously from intergovernmental collaboration to flatten the barriers to intra-regional digital trade. Jumpstarting regional digital commerce and fostering the creation of regional digital marketplaces will create pathways to economic inclusion to the many millions of underserved populations,” Dr. Chakravorti said.

Whereas the region has made improvements in telecommunications infrastructure over time, digital transactions infrastructure has not evolved at the same pace, according to the research findings.

“Improving the accessibility, convenience, and security of digital payments will accelerate the growth of internet commerce and improve the digital momentum of the entire region,” Carlo said.

The DEI LAC demonstrates that countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean are at a crucial turning point – with the right mix of digital-first policy interventions, supply infrastructure stimuli, and a push to improve digital and financial inclusion, the region can unlock its true digital potential.

More information could be found in the Digital Evolution Index.

About Mastercard and The Fletcher School at Tufts University partnership

The two international institutions have been producing cutting edge, data driven, collaborative research since 2013 on the global digital economy, measuring the state and pace of digital evolution and digital trust around the world. The DEI has, over the years, sparked policy debates in a wide range of countries, and has been cited in legislative discussions and deliberations in far corners of the world. Policymakers of aspiring digital nations use the DEI as a tool to benchmark themselves against peer nations and the most advanced digital economies in the world and introduce policy interventions to close the gaps. This latest research – a deep dive into the LAC region – complements the Digital Evolution Index (DEI) 2017, a global study of digital competitiveness.

The DEI LAC study provides insights into the drivers of, and opportunities for, digital growth in the LAC region. The results of this research include recommendations for business leaders and policymakers on specific actions required to accelerate digital progress in their respective countries.



About the Digital Evolution Index

The Latin America and Caribbean edition of the Digital Evolution Index builds off the highly impactful global editions DEI 2014 and DEI 2017. The research behind this latest regional edition considers numerous new factors to better reflect rapid changes in the digital world and produce analyses that are accurate, robust and comprehensive.

The in-depth regional analysis includes a study of the pace of digital evolution of 24 LAC countries, across four key drivers of supply, demand, institutional environment and innovation.  It utilizes data over 10 years (2008 – 2017) to provide an overall digital evolution score and digital momentum score.

The Digital Evolution Index is a research product of Digital Planet — an interdisciplinary research platform, based at the Institute for Business in the Global Context at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
About The Fletcher School

The Fletcher School at Tufts University is the oldest exclusively graduate school of international affairs in the United States. Fletcher’s alumni represent the highest levels of leadership in the world, including hundreds of sitting ambassadors, political and military leaders, respected voices from distinguished media outlets and institutions, heads of global non-profit organizations, and executive leadership of some of the world’s largest corporations. The Fletcher School offers a collaborative, flexible and interdisciplinary approach to the study of international affairs, featuring a distinguished faculty and diverse student body representing more than half the world’s countries.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.