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Proposals on Telcos and ICT in Mexican Presidential Campaign

Propuestas sobre Telcos y TIC en campaña presidencial mexicana

Mexico. The election campaigns for the presidency began in March 2024 and we are less than a month away from the June 2 elections.

It is worrisome, then, that the candidates' proposals on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are not a priority in the public discussion or in government platforms.

These proposals are significant due to their recognized ability to promote various areas such as eHealth, eGovernment, eEducation, among others, while acting as human rights facilitators and tools to increase efficiency in the delivery of public services. In addition, they serve as infrastructure in themselves or as components of other types of infrastructure.

In order to monitor the candidates' electoral ideas and promises, 50 specific issues were identified that are considered as pillars for a Digital Agenda for Mexico.

- Publicidad -

These issues were grouped into the 14 thematic axes illustrated above and, although the analysis considers what was published by the candidates of the electoral contest, it also includes mentions of ICT issues during the pre-campaigns and the initiatives they promoted in their most recent political work.

Thematic Axes in which ICT Proposals are Grouped.
These include aspects such as reforms to government bodies that have an impact on the ICT sector, universal connectivity policies, e-Health and e-Education programs, government procurement, fiscal policy around useful devices for connectivity, and even energy sustainability proposals since ICTs often play an important role in them.

General coverage of ICT proposals and initiatives
As of April 23, the candidate with the highest thematic coverage continues to be Xóchitl Gálvez, who has addressed 23 of the 50 ICT issues that are monitored, which is equivalent to a coverage of 48% and a growth of 2 percentage points (pp) with respect to the monitoring corresponding to the end of March.

ICT Proposal Coverage: Elections 2024 (April 23, 2024)
On the other hand, Claudia Sheinbaum has covered 40% of the issues that concern an ideal Digital Agenda for Mexico, remaining unchanged with respect to the monitoring of the month of April.

Its proposals are located in the thematic axes called "Innovation Industry", "Infrastructure for Connectivity" and "Access to Connectivity and Digital Literacy".

Finally, Jorge Álvarez Máynez has a coverage of only 26% of the topics, whose main focus has been "Innovation Industry", "Renewable Energies" and secondarily "ICT Legislation", "e-Health", with an increase in coverage of 6pp.

Specific Coverage of ICT Proposals and Previous Initiatives
Xóchitl Gálvez spoke of establishing public policies to strengthen telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas and subsidizing access to connectivity. It has also addressed the need to have digital medical records and prescriptions, as well as to promote ICT equipment in schools and use technologies to be able to track and make public resources transparent.

Regarding fiscal policies, when she was a senator, Gálvez proposed establishing policies to subsidize internet demand, as well as withdrawing the Value Added Tax (VAT) from smartphones.

- Publicidad -

He also proposed the creation of industrial parks with 5G technology, digitalization of MSMEs and attracting private investment in the energy sector to boost renewable energies. Even more, he seeks to promote Artificial Intelligence, using it in his campaign and proposing legislation on the subject.

One of the proposals with the greatest media coverage deals with the optimal ecosystem for "Nearshoring" and "Security and ICT", specifically the creation of mega-prisons with "high technological capacity".

Candidate Claudia Sheinbaum, for her part, proposes continuity in the policy of connectivity through "Internet for All".

At the same time, he has acknowledged that he will continue with the projects of the current administration to substantially modify the institutional corpus, by disappearing some Autonomous Constitutional Bodies including the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) and the competition authority and regulator of the telecommunications sector: the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), as well as giving continuity to the subsidiary CFE Internet para Todos (CFE TEIT) and nationalizing lithium.

He also explained that it seeks to promote the development of the use of renewable energies and promote energy sovereignty through Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and the Federal Energy Commission (CFE).

One of its ICT proposals with the greatest media impact has been the proposal of a map of "development poles" that promote foreign investment/nearshoring and innovation, in addition to the proposal to put a Mexican satellite into orbit, to give free internet to the entire country, including the most marginalized and remote areas.

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For his part, Jorge Álvarez, as a federal deputy, proposed eliminating the Special Tax on Production and Services (IEPS) on the internet, as well as an initiative for the Public Prosecutor's Office to be forced to explain the reasons for intercepting mobile communication equipment related to a judicial investigation.

He has also proposed sanctioning digital violence through the use of Artificial Intelligence and prohibiting the use of technologies that compromise security, his most mediatic proposals are focused on young people, mainly on investing in the development of technology and innovation for the future of this sector of the population.

Proportion of mentions of the 5 ICT Proposals with the most mentions per candidate, Elections 2024 (as of April 23, 2024)
There are similarities in the inclusion of ICT proposals in the speeches of the candidates and the presidential candidate in relation to the axis "Access to connectivity and digital literacy" and "Development of the innovation industry", both candidates have the same proportion of mentions, while the candidate of Movimiento Ciudadano is lagging behind with less than 15% of mentions of these two topics.

In terms of "e-Government and e-Citizen" the candidate Xóchitl Gálvez has more than half of the mentions (54%), followed by Claudia Sheinbaum with 38% and 13% for Jorge A. Máynez. The theme of "Renewable Energy" turns out to be the one with the most equitable distribution: 43% from Xóchitl Gálvez and 29% from Claudia Sheinbaum and 29% Jorge from Álvarez Máynez.

The topic of "e-Education" is the one in which the greatest difference in the proportion of mentions is found: the candidate Xóchitl Gálvez has 8 out of 10.

It is vitally important that the candidates not only comply with the inclusion of the thematic axes in their discourse, but also that they group and organize them coherently in a Digital Agenda for Mexico, which serves as the guiding axis of the country's digital policies.

The monitoring and analysis of ICT proposals for the elections shows that none of the candidates proposes a comprehensive, optimal and comprehensive Digital Agenda, but that so far they have only enunciated a series of scattered elements that do not constitute the set or universe of priorities of users and the ICT sector.

To this end, candidates still have a clear task to structure proposals around the following themes:
Competition Policy in Digital Markets
Creation of an ICT Secretariat for the consolidation of digital policy
Strengthening of preponderance measures in telecommunications and broadcasting
Mobile Device Subsidies
Greater institutional coordination between SCT, IFT and CFE TEIT
Effective and Secure Connectivity for State Ports, Rail Lines, Airports
Taking advantage of smartphones, video games and reverse charging in the educational process
General Review of PEF Expenditure on ICT: Ensure that at least 1% of PEF is allocated to ICT purchases
Model for simplifying procedures for authorizing the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure at the municipal level
Candidates are encouraged to consider the 50 issues mentioned in their government proposals and agendas, these topics forgotten by the candidates are pillars of a comprehensive Digital Agenda capable of developing economic and social development.

Candidates are invited to harmonize and integrate ICT proposals so that there is a robust public policy instrument that cuts across every aspect of the State's actions. This instrument, called the Digital Agenda, will allow telecommunications and information technologies to be facilitators of human rights, allow for a more efficient public administration and provide the government with a clear plan to cover infrastructure and coverage needs, especially where there is a greater digital lag.

Analysis by The SIU.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2009), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de IntegraTec y LiveTec.

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