At the centre of the initiative are three tech giants: Facebook, Google and Yahoo!. They have been joined by Despegar, MercadoLibre, PedidosYa, Restorando and Workana.
The new network, known as “Asociación Latinoamericana de Internet” (ALAI), has its HQ in Montevideo and has just been officially launched in Buenos Aires. A statement released explained that their aim is to “…promote the growth of the internet ecosystem in the region, the development of public policy, public-private and various sectors (academia, civil society, technical community, governments, and others) to achieve greater innovation dialogue, entrepreneurship and investment to maximize the social, cultural and economic impact of the Internet on society.”
MercadoLibre and Despegar are major LATAM e-Commerce companies and are major players in the region and will work closely with the three tech giants Google, Facebook and Yahoo! who all have offices and employees in the territory.
ALAI will also include three start-ups: PedidosYa (deliveries); Restorando (restaurant reservations) and Workana (freelance professionals).
A spokesman for the group said that the members of ALAI were all keen to add to the debate about the development of internet throughout Latin America. They are also keen to break down some of the more negative restrictions that exist.
The group highlights the fact that one of the main inhibitors for growth is the monopoly of certain credit cards which prevents many shoppers in the region to pay electronically for their purchases as they don’t allow them to use alternative payment methods. Other barriers to entry include logistic and infrastructure problems (notably the access to the internet using mobile devices).
The group say that unless changes are made, there will be a slowdown on innovation and entrepreneurship in a region which is full of talent and ideas.
At the presentation to mark the coming together of the group, it was said: “As an organization, we are convinced about the potential that internet has as a development tool for Latin America and the Caribbean and already we are committed to contribute to its strengthening, promoting cooperation with other entities of the ecosystem and building capacity among its users, through an open, participatory and transparent model.”
The first head of group, which will be rotated throughout the members every period, is MercadoLibre.
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Reference: El Comercio