In Latin America, Brazil leads the way in terms of digital inclusion and the development of information technology. Recently the World Economic Forum awarded Brazil first place in its ranking of Latin American countries that best develop communication and information-related technologies. Moreover, Brazil was one of the best placed Latin American countries in the forum's global rankings for its extensive developments in telecommunications and e-government.

Among Brazil's most noteworthy projects is the Committee for the Democratization of Information Technology, created in 1995 with the aim of promoting digital inclusion in underprivileged communities together with teachings on citizenship. This project is one of the most successful of its kind, and can be applied worldwide.

Another important initiative is the development and use of digital technologies during political elections. In 2002 the presidential election process was conducted entirely through electronic ballots.

In addition, Comprasnet, an e-procurement application addressing the interaction between the federal government and its suppliers, has won praise from the European Community and World Bank. The Comprasnet service frees potential suppliers from having to present legal and administrative documentation for every tender, and reduces the cost of supplying to the federal government.

The fact that 72% of federal government services are available online and that 90% of income tax returns were submitted online in 2002, proves the scope and universalization of digital government services in Brazil. However, there is still much to be done in order for all sectors of society to enjoy digital inclusion.

For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Barretto or Camila Varas Siqueira at Barretto Ferreira, Kujawski, Brancher e Gonçalves – Sociedade de Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3066 5999) or by fax (+55 11 3167 4735) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).