Mexico ranks highly in some areas related to science, technology and industry but lags behind in others, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Among the 35 OECD member countries, Mexico is in the top five for productivity in the information sector, growth in the mobile broadband market and for the percentage of patents granted to women.
The 2017 edition of the Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard also highlighted that Mexico was among the OECD countries with the highest growth in tertiary education spending between 2005 and 2014.
Only Ireland and Israel ranked ahead of Mexico for labor productivity in the information industries, which encompasses sectors such as telecommunications, computing and information technology.
Each country’s rating is measured in relative terms, comparing productivity in the information sector to the total non-agricultural business sector.
The report also said that the number of people accessing mobile broadband services has grown rapidly in recent years, from just 4.2 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2010 to 60.9 in December 2016, a figure that represents a 14-fold increase.
But despite the rapid growth, Mexico still ranks third last for mobile broadband penetration among OECD countries, ahead of only Greece and Hungary.
Mexico’s richest man and telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim recently blamed telecom reforms for hindering investment in telecommunications infrastructure.
The report said 12.2% of all patents approved in Mexico between 2012 and 2015 were taken out by women, placing Mexico in fourth place behind Portugal, Spain and Poland and ahead of the United States, where 10% of patents were issued to women.
Other data included in the report provides further insight into changes that have taken place in Mexico over the past 10 years.
Sixty per cent of Mexicans used the internet in 2016, compared to just 20% in 2006, and among 16 to 24-year-olds the figure was even higher, reaching almost 86%. Mexico ranked fifth for the percentage of people in the same age bracket that completed an online course in 2014.
The government research and development (R&D) budget grew by 42% between 2008 and 2016, the report said, but the business sector invested just 0.16% of gross domestic product on its own R&D, among the lowest levels recorded in the OECD. For most of the period measured, there was no tax incentive scheme in Mexico to support business R&D although a new scheme was introduced this year.
At 31%, almost a third of all tertiary graduates in natural sciences, engineering, and information and communications technology (ICT) fields in 2015 were women but just 2.1% of the figure was made up of ICT graduates.
Source: El Financiero (sp)