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Three new plans for the digital development of Spain presented, with 11,000 million

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The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, presented yesterday three new plans for the development of the Spain 2025 Digital Agenda, with a joint public investment of more than 11,000 million euros for the next three years. They are the Digitalization Plan for SMEs 2021-2025, the National Plan for Digital Competences and the Digitalization Plan for Public Administrations, which are part of the development of the Digital Agenda 2025 approved by the Government on July 23. They are added to the other three plans presented last December: the Connectivity Plan, the Strategy to Promote 5G and the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

With these three new plans announced yesterday, Spain “has already set course” towards digital transformation and it is “one more brick” in the construction of the great commitment to the modernization of the Spanish economy, highlighted the President of the Government. With the development of these three plans, it is hoped that, by 2025, 80% of the population will have digital skills, a quarter of the business volume of small and medium-sized companies will come from electronic commerce and half of public services will be working with mobile applications, among other objectives.

The three plans will have a planned public investment of more than 11,000 million euros for the next three years, “with the aim of promoting the reforms and transformations necessary to advance in the digitization process of Spain and towards a more resilient and inclusive economy ”.

The three initiatives of last December, added to the three plans approved today, foresee mobilizing more than 15,400 million euros in public investments, financed by the European funds of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism

These three plans now presented are included within the main strategic axes contemplated in both the Digital Spain 2025 Agenda as in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan  dated October 7. With them, the Government continues its commitment to digitization as one of the levers of change for the recovery of the economy, the productive fabric and employment, as well as the digital transformation of the Administration.

Last December three other plans were presented to promote the deployment of the Digital Spain 2025 Agenda. Specifically, the Connectivity Plan, with a public investment of 2,320 million euros until 2025, of which 583 million are included in this year’s Budgets; the Strategy to Promote 5G , which will mobilize 2,000 million public funds until 2025, and the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, with a public investment of another 600 million euros in the period 2021-2023.

These three initiatives last December, added to the plans approved today, foresee a mobilization of more than 15,400 million euros in public investments, which will be financed by the European funds of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism. One third of the Recovery Plan budget is earmarked for promoting digitization, which is one of its four cross-cutting axes along with ecological transition, gender equality and territorial and social cohesion.

Pedro Sánchez assured, when presenting the new plans, that the future of Spain involves the vaccine and the overcoming of the pandemic and, then, the moment of recovery and social, economic and administrative transformation, a process that will be “necessarily digital”. In this context, he added, the digital transformation, together with the ecological one, will be the protagonists of the reconversion and modernization of the Spanish economy. And he stressed that the objective of the plans is to reinforce digitization to increase productivity and economic growth, promote the creation of quality employment and conquer foreign markets.

The objective of the three plans presented yesterday is to promote the reforms and transformations necessary to advance the digitization process of Spain and achieve a more resilient and inclusive economy, highlighted Pedro Sánchez

The Third Vice President and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, added that these plans complete the “hard core and the main elements of the country’s digital transformation agenda.” Calviño highlighted the importance of cooperation between public administrations at all levels in Spain’s digital transformation process, as well as public-private collaboration. For the vice president, in the digital sphere “public investment is only a lever to mobilize the investments that the private sector is going to make in the coming years” and that will allow the country’s economy to be transformed.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, expressed her appreciation for the measures that are being adopted in Spain and their ambition, given the positive impact of digitizing SMEs and the Public Administration and that it is essential to tackle the digital divide, in its intervention by videoconference in the presentation of the plans.

The Pymes Digitization Plan foresees a public investment of 4,656 million euros until 2023 in order to accelerate the digitization of one and a half million small and medium enterprises. It is estimated that at least 1.2 million of these companies are self-employed and micro-companies, which represents 80% of the total. This Digitization Plan is included within component 13 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, focused on promoting SMEs.

“The digital transformation of SMEs is a process of innovation and change in business organizations derived from the integration of digital capabilities, technologies and services and constitutes a fundamental element for increasing productivity, internationalization, potential growth and closure of social, territorial and gender gaps ”, as stated in the government statement.

In addition to promoting the basic digitization of SMEs, the Plan contemplates the promotion of disruptive innovation (artificial intelligence, IoT, Big Data) to take advantage of the opportunities of the data economy through scalable programs that will be deployed through public collaboration- private.

Five objectives are proposed in the Plan: 1, to establish a set of scalable programs for the digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting public-private cooperation; 2, promote business and managerial training in digital skills, in order to improve the transformation, productivity of SMEs and their possibilities for growth and internationalization; 3, promote disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital realm so that SMEs and start-ups take advantage of the opportunities of the green and data-driven digital economy; 4, establish sectorial digitization programs adapted to the specific characteristics in the field of industry, tourism and commerce in a context of ecological transition, and 5, reduce the gender gap in digitization.

In order to achieve these objectives, four lines of action are set out, which are developed through a set of newly designed programs or through the reinforcement and reorientation of those already underway, and a fifth horizontal axis of complementary measures of coordination, efficiencies and reform. The Plan contains five lines of action and 16 measures, as specified in the following table included in the document.

The Pymes Digitization Plan contemplates a public investment of 4,656 million euros, with a direct impact in the form of aid for digitization of 4,459 million euros. This total amount is distributed among four measures and a total of 14 lines of action. The measure with the highest budget, 3,118 million, is that of “basic digitization for SMEs” and, within it, the line of action “digital toolkit” is left with 3,000 million. The other three measures are “support for change management” (656 million), “disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship” (439 million) and “support for sector digitization” (443 million).

The objective of the “digital toolkit” program is to promote a scalable, high-impact, public-private collaboration mechanism that facilitates and accelerates the digitization of SMEs, especially micro-SMEs and the self-employed, promoting the implementation of a set of basic digitization packages (the Digital Toolkit), appropriate to the starting situation and specific needs. The program is developed by the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, in collaboration with the private sector, and plans to invest, as has been said, 3,000 million in the period 2021-2023.

The National Plan for Digital Competences develops components 19, 20 and 21 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan to respond to the need to develop the digital capacities and skills of both workers and citizens as a whole, in order to promote the creation of quality jobs, reduce unemployment, increase productivity and help close gender, social and social gaps. territorial. The Plan will mobilize a total of 3,750 million euros in the period 2021-2023 and aims to achieve a level of digital training among Spanish citizens that is up to the challenge of the digitization process.

To do this, seven lines of action have been established: 1, digital training for citizens with special emphasis on groups at risk of digital exclusion and which also includes a free online mass access offer (MOOC); 2, the fight against the digital gender gap by promoting digital training for women; 3, the digitization of education and the development of digital skills for learning with the incorporation of digital skills and programming in the curricula of the compulsory stages; 4, training in digital skills throughout working life for unemployed and employed people in the private sector; 5, training in digital skills for public employment; 6, the development of digital skills for SMEs, and 7, the promotion of ICT specialists, both graduates of Vocational Training and university.

With digitization, it will increase productivity and economic growth, quality employment and the conquest of foreign markets. The digital and ecological transformation will lead the reconversion and modernization of the Spanish economy, added the President of the Government

Public-private collaboration, says the document, will be key in terms of identifying the needs and developing the different measures and projects of the training programs. The different competent ministries will lead the implementation of the different projects and measures working within the framework of their own sectoral conferences with the autonomous communities, through agreements and other instruments of public-private collaboration. In order to coordinate actions by the public sector and also promote public-private collaboration, a hub of digital skills will be created, as a workspace, dialogue forum, knowledge network, ideas laboratory and dissemination channel of the measures and results of the Plan.

Among the outstanding measures of the National Plan for Digital Competences, investment will be made in digital training for the entire population throughout the national territory and in the digitization of the school. The Digital Vocational Training Plan will reinforce the offer of places in the digital field and the training of teachers in applied digitization and a digital training plan will be addressed in the workplace and in Public Administrations. It will also fight against the digital gender gap, through programs to promote scientific and technological vocations and digital training for women and girls. Finally, there will be the Uni Digital Plan to promote the digitization of the university.

The Digitalization Plan for Public Administrations is one of the main elements of component 11 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan , of modernization of the Public Administrations. This plan foresees mobilizing a public investment of at least 2,600 million euros for the next three years, of which at least 600 million will go specifically to the autonomous communities and local corporations for the development of digital public services throughout the territory .

The objective of the plan is to improve the accessibility of public services to citizens and companies with all the guarantees for the protection of personal and company data, overcome social and territorial digital gaps and boost the efficiency of public administrations through the digitization of important driving areas such as health, justice, employment policies, consular services or territorial administration in matters of inclusion.

High-impact projects in the digitization of the public sector will have an investment of 1,040 million euros. For example, in the area of ​​health, interoperability will be strengthened for the management of information in the different Autonomous Communities to improve the service, apply artificial intelligence to data analysis and face health emergencies. In the judicial sphere, the Ministry of Justice has prepared the Justice Plan 2030 to improve digital services for citizens, companies and groups and advance to sustainable judicial management over time. And in terms of employment, the information systems that support unemployment benefits and activation policies for employment will be improved.

With this plan, the Government intends to move towards a 21st century Administration by including reforms and investments that will improve both administrative procedures and digital skills and available resources. The public sector of the different administrations will serve as a point of support and lever of the great transformations that Spain requires in the digital field. This program will also support the digital transformation of the regional and local Administrations, consistent with the guidelines set for the General State Administration in this period.

The plan aims to increase the efficiency of Public Administrations, by strengthening shared resources and services, thus generating a series of very significant synergies and cost savings that ensure the sustainability of investments and provide more means and instruments for the achievement of the objectives of resilience, climate change, environment, digital transition, public health and territorial cohesion. Furthermore, and in coherence with the Digital Connectivity and Infrastructures Plan, better digital connectivity in public centers will favor the better provision of the new services included in this Public Administration Digitization Plan, such as telemedicine.

To do this, the plan will be structured around three lines of action: 1, digitally transform the Administration with cross-cutting initiatives for the deployment of efficient, safe and easy-to-use public services and for the generalization of access to emerging technologies; 2, to deploy digitization driving projects, such as in the areas of health, justice or employment, and 3, to support the digitization of territorial administrations, Autonomous Communities and Local Entities.

As key measures of the Public Administration Digitization Plan, there are the “App Factory”, the “Administration in one click” and the “GobTechLab”. “App Factory” is an initiative to promote the development of quality mobile applications with which to improve access to public services, bring the Administration closer to the public and facilitate a more fluid and closer relationship, with the aim that by the end of 2025 half of public services are available on mobile applications.

The “One-click Administration” will facilitate citizens and companies access to information and digital public services of the General State Administration, with the aim of avoiding the dispersion of information and reducing barriers to information consultation and use of the services. The “GobTechLab” initiative will launch an innovation laboratory of the General State Administration to improve the experience in the use of digital public services through citizen participation, collaborative creation and innovation in public services. This project contemplates the development of an open space in which to experience public services with citizens and companies and collect their opinions or suggestions for their improvement. The main fields of application will be emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain.