The Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA), a flagship initiative of the Digital Strategy, identifies opportunities and risks in a country’s digital ecosystem to help the development, design, and implementation of USAID’s strategies, projects, and activities. It informs USAID Missions and other key decision-makers about how to better understand, work with, and support a country’s digital ecosystem.
The El Salvador Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA) report presents the findings and recommendations of the El Salvador DECA. It outlines the key aspects of El Salvador’s digital ecosystem and provides 10 recommendations for creating a more inclusive, safe, and enabling environment. Guided by USAID/El Salvador priorities, which include i) security increased for likely migrants; ii) jobs and income potential increased for likely migrants; and iii) government responsiveness, accountability, and transparency improved, the DECA process included desk research, consultations with USAID/El Salvador technical offices, and 101 key informant interviews with stakeholders from civil society, academia, and the private and public sectors.
Key findings include:
- Digital transformation is a priority for El Salvador.
- A weak regulatory environment and the lack of clear government strategies have held back digitization efforts.
- Stakeholders frequently cite improving digital connectivity and citizens’ digital literacy skills as recommendations for greater digital adoption.
- Cybersecurity policy and initiatives are underdeveloped and the awareness of effective defense measures is low across the digital ecosystem.
- Most Salvadorans are still unbanked. Sixty-four percent of Salvadorans have no financial institution (traditional bank or mobile money) account. Only 11 percent of Salvadorans had a mobile money account as of 2021.
- GOES embraced bitcoin in September 2021, spotlighting El Salvador on the world stage.
- The COVID-19 pandemic spurred digital uptake among micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
USAID’s Digital Strategy charts an Agency-wide approach to development in a rapidly evolving digital age. Building on decades of USAID leadership in digital development, the Strategy outlines USAID’s deliberate and holistic commitment to improve development and humanitarian assistance outcomes through the use of digital technology and to strengthen open, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystems.