The World Economic Forum’s Latin America Competitiveness Lab

Fact sheet

The World Economic Forum’s Latin America Competitiveness Lab

The World Economic Forum sponsors a variety of projects, initiatives and communities that identify and advance distinctive global issues relevant to their constituents. The collaborative efforts of both Deloitte and the Forum will generate insights and research that is shared at the Annual Meeting at Davos and other World Economic Forum meetings across the world. One of the projects Deloitte has partnered on is the Latin America Competitiveness Lab.

Deloitte has collaborated with the Forum on this project since 2013. The focus of the project is to identify the underlying factors behind the two interrelated competitiveness challenges at the regional level - the skills gap and the innovation gap.

Breaking new ground to close the skills and innovation gap in Latin America

Over the past years, there has been a solid demand from several governments and other stakeholders for insights that will deepen their understanding on the best ways to boost competitiveness by addressing the region’s productivity lag. The project contributes to this dialogue by designing strategies and facilitating public-private collaboration.

Challenges in the quality and access to education, low investments in R&D as well as low technological absorptive capacity of the firms are some of the underlying factors behind the Latin America gaps in skills and innovation. The project team has developed a set of recommendations regarding policies, investment and research that help bridge these gaps and improve the regions competitiveness.

Advancing Latin America's position and outlook—not only for today's workforce, but for the workforce of tomorrow requires investments in innovation, R&D, education and calls for better public and private partnerships. Innovation is increasingly at the heart of progress and can be used as a platform to fuel future growth. Innovation that brings real improvements to Latin America’s social and economic outcomes is the key to increasing the well-being and prosperity of its citizens.

Today gaps exist in how private and public sectors collaborate as well as the linkages between industry and research institutions are weak. In order to strive there must be more public-private sector partnerships to close the gaps and to benefit the environment where we operate in. The public sector must provide the right incentives to drive R&D investment in the private sector.

Skills gap in education calls for better balance between technical and higher education. Today employers have a hard time finding graduates with the right skills proportion of students graduated in technical education should be higher than those graduated in higher education.

The work has been brought to life in two Latin America countries, Colombia and Mexico; sharing these recommendations and working with local stakeholders to set the basis for improving and implementing their innovation ecosystem through a public-private collaboration agenda.

In Colombia the lab chose to focus on the design of public-private research and skills development funding schemes around the challenges identified in the energy efficiency sector. The work was shared with the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia and the project was included in the scope of work for the “Sistema Nacional de Ciencia e innovación” of Colombia - led by an Advisor to the President of Colombia. The project was presented in the World Economic Forum meeting in Medellin June 2016. Advances in Colombia and Mexico can be considered as examples how countries can leverage the project recommendations and framework to advance a country’s social progress and address some of the key challenges around innovation, education and research through cross-sector collaboration.

Deloitte is committed to making an impact in the region. Through our work with the Forum, our deep experience in innovation, expertise in public sector as well as our work around education and skills across the globe, we are positioned to do so.

The World Economic Forum’s Latin America Competitiveness Lab

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