At a glance

In August 2022, the Ecuadorian Government launched the Digital Transformation Agenda 2022-2025. The agenda provides strategic guidelines to establish a roadmap to reduce the digital gap in the country and strengthen digitalization capabilities in areas such as e-commerce, cybersecurity, and government modernization.

Likewise, active participation from the private sector, civil society, academia, and other initiatives have continued paving the way for digital transformation, expanding the spectrum of connectivity and infrastructure.

In the urban areas of Ecuador digitalization has become very common. The handling of digital appliances and processes is considered normal and accessible to most of the urban population. While digitalization is omnipresent in the highly populated areas and cities, the rural areas stay far behind this trend.

Ecuador is an agricultural country with predominant small-scale producers and at the same time a leading exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables, cocoa, coffee, flowers, shrimp, and other commodities. To stay competitive globally, it must respond to the ever-growing demands of international markets with regards to traceability, quality, and sustainability. This is particularly challenging for the thousands of small-scale producers, particularly women and young people, struggling with poor data connectivity in rural areas, little digital literacy, and lack of access to digital equipment.

Zooming into the cocoa sector, the challenge becomes even more evident: Ecuador currently exports more than 100.000 tons of cocoa beans annually to the European Union, that represents the 28% of the total cacao exportation. In addition, 80% of the cocoa producers are small-scale. Due to a new EU regulation on deforestation-free supply chains, Ecuadorian small-scale producers will have to prove, that their product does not contribute to the loss of forests and their biodiversity through the application of traceability systems. These systems allow, through the application of digital applications (for example QR codes) to track every step of the production process all the way to the field. Similar requirements apply for other agricultural sectors such as coffee, banana, flowers, and shrimp exportation. A digital transformation in the rural areas is therefore not only necessary to local development and income increase, but also to support more sustainable production and consumption worldwide. This doble focus on sustainability and digital transformation is also understood as twin transition.

A digital transformation in the agricultural sector is needed to comply with international market demands, improve sustainability in agricultural supply chains and halt deforestation.

Reserve Mache Chindul (intervention area of ELKE project including the DTC Ecuador), © GIZ Ecuador

Our approach

The Digital Transformation Center Ecuador is linked to the Deforestation-Free Supply Chains Program (ELKE), which is another BMZ project in Ecuador. The DTC Ecuador aims to build bridges to a green, fair, equitable and human-centered digital transformation, also reducing gender gaps and gender-based inequalities in local ecosystems by providing specific support services for women​.

To promote sustainable, transparent development and address these challenges in an integrated way, the DTC Ecuador has prioritized two thematic areas: Green Digital Transformation and Women in Tech.

Green Digital Transformation

  • Collaborate or implement digital solutions to contribute to a “twin transition” towards ecological and digital sustainability.
  • Provide advice to agricultural and aquaculture supply chains, that are part of the ELKE Program, with a focus on digital innovations for sustainable production and adaptation to the EUDR.
  • Promote digital traceability systems to monitor and reduce the carbon footprint in the supply chain and advise the public sector in standards on this area.
  • Promote the use of technology for data analysis and decision-making in the agricultural and aquaculture sectors.
  • Bring together public and private stakeholders, incl. start-ups, to promote disruptive technologies in the field of Agriculture 4.0.
Shrimp tank in delta of Río Chone, © GIZ Ecuador

Women in Technology

  • Facilitate specific training and education programs to strengthen digital skills, addressing existing gaps. Considering women who are or are not part of the agricultural supply chains.
  • Promote women’s empowerment through the use and development of digital tools, promoting gender equity in technological roles.
  • Integrate the promotion of digital capacities as a cross-cutting axis in technological development initiatives and policies.

DTC Ecuador promotes and advises on scalable and sustainable innovation processes to strengthen environmental protection. The project considers partnerships between the public and private sectors for digital development in the agricultural sector and the adaptation to new regulations.