THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS

Costa Rica 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

The company is laying out a four-year roadmap that will best facilitate investment and encourage more development.

Luis Adrián Salazar
BIOGRAPHY
With over 22 years of experience in the IT and communications sectors with a special emphasis on innovation, market development, and negotiations, Salazar has held a wide variety of responsibilities, including but not limited to VP of market negotiations, channel and premium accounts management, head of PYMES, and VP and general director of ICT. He holds a bachelors in computational systems, a degree in management, and a masters in education administration.

How would you describe the current state of the IT sector in Costa Rica, and what are the main trends entering the country over the next two years?

The first thing we have to talk about is what we aim to achieve in our public sector strategy. We need to talk about what we have and where we are going as a country. In May 2018, this government took power, and we defined our role across three sectors. Communications is highly important in terms of developing infrastructure. We must improve our efforts to open our broadband penetration and must connect the education sector and other institutions with these kinds of technologies. The private sector needs more incentives to invest in this area, and we are trying to do this in the telecommunications area. We want to develop the best way to facilitate investment and want to see more development. To achieve all that, the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications (MICITT) is defining the roadmap for the next four years. Moreover, we need to increase the capacity of the government to develop infrastructure. Similarly, MICITT has several initiatives aimed at improving innovation activities across many different layers and including many different stakeholders. We are also trying to establish an e-government governance model for Costa Rica. We have to prop up our telecommunications efforts, improve innovation, and develop a working governance model for state of the art e-government services. We believe we have strong telecommunications skills, good penetration in mobile service, and strong SME participation. MICITT has skills in these areas, and it can be a leader in these areas in the next three years.

How are you working with the Ministry of Education to ensure there is strong IT promotion and STEM development?

We have to be clear that the mandate is to increase, develop, and push the entire technical sector. We want to be an advisor to every stakeholder working to achieve our common goals. We have around 2,050 community centers that have access to internet, and we are working on transforming these centers that can provide true social innovation and transformation. We want to use these as areas that can further develop STEM skills. Recently, we released a plan for bilingual development as a component of the president's efforts to develop Costa Rica's human capital and competencies. The administration's secret ingredient is its ability to articulate a road map and work together to achieve our common goals.

In terms of e-government, what are the specific objectives of the ministry's agenda, and how are you planning to achieve them?

We are working on the national agenda, but it is more complex than just the government. We have a lot of projects that we hope to bring online. My goal is to have an efficient government that puts citizens at the center of all its efforts. It is vital for Costa Rica to become more efficient and cut expenses. I hope that in three years, our conversation will be about how to increase broadband coverage, what new services citizens are receiving, and how we can reduce poverty using IT, for example. We want to use technology to utterly transform the lives of all Costa Ricans.

How is the ministry supporting IT startups?

We have a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, and we are investing USD21 million to improve startups. Developing these allows us to increase our capacity to employ people while raising the quality of life and further developing the country; however, to get these benefits we must first invest in startups. At present, Costa Rica is helping the world's largest firms establish operations in Costa Rica, and we are simultaneously developing our small-scale firms and startups.