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Innovations in Emerging Economies - Latin America(Technical Insights) : Technology innovations that can shape and impact the Latin American economy

  • December 2014
  • 73 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2604043


Table of Contents

Research Scope and Focus Areas

Latin America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to increase by x % in 2015. A greater improvement in the region is expected in 2016, with a projected growth rate of x %. Most countries in this region are expected to experience faster growth in 2015, with the exception of Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecquador and Colombia. The recessionary conditions currently in Argentina and Venezuela are expected to continue into 2015. In oil-rich Venezuela falling oil prices, along with the unstable political situation, skyrocketing inflation and interventionist policies is responsible for this. Inflation in Latin America is at the highest since 1996, and the region is expected to close 2014 with a rate of x %. 2015 is not expected to reduce inflationary pressures considerably; however, economists do predict a fall in inflation in 2016 by at least 2 percentage points.

Most currencies in Latin America have weakened in the past few months in response to the strengthening dollar worldwide. Recently, however, the currencies in this area have fluctuated with high volatility due to the steep fall in oil prices.
The silver lining to the economic downturn in the region is that it seems to be part of a conventional business cycle, as opposed to the kind of bust experienced after a debt-fueled boom cycle–the kind of economic activity that hinders growth severely.

This research service, “Innovations in Emerging Latin America” aims at identifying and analyzing the innovations that can shape and impact the Latin American economy across different industries.
- The research service highlights innovations in industries including:
- Automation & Electronics
- Information & Communications Technology
- Healthcare
- Chemicals and Materials
- Energy and Environment

Key Findings

Latin America has excelled in urban future infrastructure development, and moderately contributed to agricultural innovations, renewable energy and forest conservation. Its rural infrastructure development has not matured, whereas solid waste management and water infrastructure development as a whole have seen little innovations.
Most of the innovations in energy and environment in Latin America have been adapted from elsewhere, or led by foreign entities (mostly non-profit, charitable or research organizations). There are more organizational/ institutional, social and marketing innovations than product and process innovations.
While the public sector and non-profit organizations have played significant roles in environmental and energy sustainability and development, the lack of private sector involvement has contributed to the less dynamic growth in these sectors.
A significant portion of innovation in the Materials, Chemicals and coatings domain is from academia. This shows that innovation is mostly geared towards basic research with a significantly long time to commercialization.
There needs to be a regulatory push towards innovation-based market performance. Only with the presence of stronger patent laws and standardization, innovation is expected to make a significant impact in the regional market.
Brazil, Mexico, Colombia are key innovators in the ICT space in the Latin American region. However, recent initiatives and collaborative efforts are focused on infrastructure development in countries such as Chile and Argentina.
The innovations in ICT domain are transforming the business and governance processes in the Latin American region. The high rate of adoption of mobile and wireless technologies is driving emergence of new concepts such as e-governance, e-commerce, digital payments and digital education, m-health so on.
Innovation initiatives in the areas of Big Data, Cloud Computing, Wireless technology and Augmented Reality are growing. Several innovative technology startups, along with global ICT leaders are targeting the innumerable opportunities in this emerging market.
In Latin America, Brazil has the largest and fastest-growing local generics industry, which is driven by need for low-cost drugs, and aided by government policies aimed at making medicines easily available to the low and middle income consumers.
Several policies and initiatives have been taken by the government for the improvement of the healthcare system in Latin America, like Family Health Program, Procedimento Gerenciado, Farmacia Popular and others.
The various government initiatives and programs taken to reduce the child and infant mortality rate, has helped in reduction of the mortality rates by approximately x %, particularly in Brazil.
Brazil has been the most successful nations in the world for reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS. This success has been driven by the aggressive prevention campaigns and universal access to drugs. Other Latin American countries have emulated some of these approaches.
In the manufacturing side, Mexico has made improvements to its production efficiencies and costs. As the Chinese assembly costs are rising due to the tight labor market, the Mexican manufacturers are getting back their contracts, which they lost to their Chinese competitors in the last decade.
The Mexican manufacturing industry is growing because of its competitive labor rates and logistical cost advantage. The export assembly of Mexico is very competitive with heavy products such as aerospace, white goods, and automobiles. The aeronautical assembly market of Mexico is the fastest growing market in the world with over x manufacturers investing in it in the last 10 years.
The infrastructure and consumption booms in Brazil and Colombia have helped them boost the prospects of domestic manufacturing. The ability to export manufactured goods have been curtailed because of their strong currencies. However, the loss in overseas market has been made up by the rise in the domestic market.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are increasing investments and operations in Latin America. Multi national corporations are investing in research and development in order to gain firm foot hold in the market. The consumer market in this region is also expanding driven by improved credit conditions.

Industry Overview

•Latin America’ has achieved significant progress in several environmental and socio-economic aspects such as water and sanitation provisions, low-carbon electricity generation and energy efficiency. It is a global pioneer in forest conservation and reforestation initiatives as it attempts to reduce its agricultural footprint. In spite of this, deforestation rates have increased.
•Being one of the world’s most biodiverse regions and home to the Amazon, the world’s greatest carbon sink, biodiversity preservation is also one of Latin America’s major concerns.
•The region has had high economic growth in the past decade, but this has been recognized to be unsustainable in the long term unless the region’s above-mentioned random innovations are translated into holistic mainstream policies, investments, and widespread practices.
•Having the largest urban population (more than x %) and the highest annual motorization growth rate ( x % per year) in the world, Latin America is now beset by pollution, over-exploitation of its water and natural resources, and negative health and environmental impacts. The most affected are the poor of the region.
•According to a World Bank report (2014), a lack of local innovations among its high population of entrepreneurs have stunted Latin America’s present growth.

Unmet Needs

•Areas requiring attention for green growth in Latin America are in infrastructure, urban development, water management, and energy.
•Although about x % of Latin America’s urban population is connected to water systems, however water pressure, quality, and stability still present challenges in water supply.
•The increasing urban population necessitates more electricity to be generated.
•Although rich in energy resources such as hydrocarbons, hydroelectricity and biofuels, the Inter-American Development Bank estimated that about x million people still lack access to modern electricity services.
•The region has the cleanest energy matrix (with almost x % renewables) in the world, nevertheless satisfying the people’s needs inclusively, efficiently and in non-polluting ways remain challenges to be addressed.
•The effects of climate change necessitates more investments to develop safer climate adaptation infrastructure, better climate monitoring systems, and improved services for normal populations in the region.

Key Initiatives

- Initiative 20x20: In this new partnership, Latin American governments and regional programs will cooperate with leading research organizations and the private sector to start the restoration of x million hectares of degraded land in Latin America by 2020. The initiative will also reduce poverty and improve agricultural productivity.
- Regional Action Plan on Air Pollution: Adopted by the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, this Regional Action Plan aims to direct members of the Intergovernmental Network on Air Pollution for Latin America and the Caribbean in abating regional air pollution, in mitigating priority pollutants emissions, and in reducing significant air pollution impacts on local, regional and global scales.
- Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE): OLADE, a political and technical support organization, was created following Lima Convention’s formalization in 1973. Its mission is to assess and promote cooperation and coordination among its member countries to achieve integration, sustainable development and energy security in the region.
- Peru’s National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program (NPHEP): Aiming to provide x % of Peru with energy by 2016, the NPHEP will provide x households with solar panels. It hopes to install x photovoltaic systems over 5 years.

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