Antonio Sanz: «A way of governing without tension has turned us into a land of entrepreneurs»

Ecuador of the first two years of absolute majority of the PP in Andalusia. The balance is made by Antonio Sanz, number two of President Juan Manuel Moreno, who among his responsibilities has the entire process of digitalization and development of a region that is a pole of attraction for technological investments.

What is the greatest transformation that Andalusians have managed to achieve in these years of the PP Government?

The Government of Juanma Moreno has changed the way of managing in Andalusia with what we call the “Andalusian way”, a way of governing for everyone, without blocks or tension, based on moderation, dialogue and reforms to end corruption and turn Andalusia into the best land to invest and work in, since it is already the best to live in. Andalusia today surprises by being the second community with the most companies in Spain: it closed May being the region with the most companies registered in Social Security, with 250,302, which represents the best record for that month since 2013. It is also leading the decline of year-on-year unemployment in Spain in absolute terms: in May the lowest number of unemployed was recorded in 16 years. And even so, unemployment is a concern, but we are still on the right track. In addition, it is the first community in number of self-employed workers, with more than 581,000, and registers a historical record in export volume. The Andalusian industry is becoming strong. The weight of the industry grew 2 points between 2018 and 2022. Today it is 13.5%, the highest weight in relative terms for 20 years. All these figures were unthinkable before. And I still have to add digital transformation and administrative simplification, two key pieces.

What is it referring to?

The Andalucía Simplifica Plan is the largest package of administrative simplification measures that a public administration has ever undertaken and has made Andalusia the community with the least bureaucracy. As? With the Project Accelerator Unit, copied in other places in Spain, and with the procedure robotization unit to improve Administration. The queues and the loss of time to complete procedures are over, the relationship with the Board is now simpler without losing the guarantees of compliance with the law.

Why are they becoming a pole of attraction for investment and entrepreneurship?

For the political and budgetary stability and for the trust generated by the Government of Juanma Moreno. Because we are the community with the least bureaucracy and the second common regime with the least fiscal pressure. It was unthinkable a few years ago, but Andalusia has led the year-on-year decrease in unemployment in absolute terms since February 2023. And it is going through its best moment of international projection, it leads the number of self-employed workers in Spain, it is the second region with the most active companies and it also has the record of export growth. This Project Accelerator Unit has 15 success stories with a generation of 1,300 jobs and has 132 projects on its table, with an investment of more than 13,000 million and the generation of more than 48,500.

How much does the dynamization of digital entrepreneurship help?

Andalusia is a land of entrepreneurs, and it is our responsibility to support them and build a favorable ecosystem for their projects to prosper. The Digital Agency of Andalusia leads the digital transformation transversally following an inclusive model that leaves no one behind and promotes digital entrepreneurship poles in key technologies such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, sectors in which Andalusia is a national reference. The Andalusian Cybersecurity Center, based in Malaga, for example, is already a cutting-edge center, a pioneer in cybersecurity in Spain, providing services to companies, administrations and citizens. The Andalusian Digital Training Plan, endowed with 185 million, has a specific axis to provide digital skills to companies and entrepreneurs, free online training so that they incorporate technology into their processes and gain competitiveness.

«The ”Andalusian way” is a way of governing for everyone based on dialogue and moderation»

Have they already started to apply artificial intelligence?

Yes. The Digital Agency has already allocated more than 36 million to contracts and services related to AI. This investment is part of our Artificial Intelligence Strategy, already launched. In fact, in the Andalusian Administration, 46 practical cases of Artificial Intelligence are already applied in different areas and we are going to be the first community to launch an AI platform applied to public management in order to improve the quality of services.

In what projects?

I give you some examples: the “Preduca” program is an intelligent predictive system for the creation of personalized educational itineraries for students. We have virtual assistants (chatbot) like the “Romero Plan”, the security device for the El Rocío pilgrimage. We also use AI to predict the arrival of travelers, impounded water or for radiological image analysis to assist in breast cancer screening. We have 46 practical cases underway.

How is this commitment to digitalization making itself felt in the public sector?

Entries through the electronic procedure window have gone from 59,000 to more than 1.14 million, with 87.4% of all documentation that enters the Board being electronic. Likewise, electronic notifications have increased by more than 200% to 1.71 million. Andalusia is the community with the highest number of valid electronic certificates for natural persons, representing 34.58% of the national total. At the end of 2023, there were 3,548,362 active physical person electronic certificates in the region, which represents 51% of people over 18 years of age. No Andalusian Government before dared to adapt the structure of the Board to the digital reality. It is this Government that is undertaking a true digital transformation of the Andalusian autonomous Administration, which benefits the citizen and also the public employee, whose workplace has been modernized to improve its efficiency and productivity.

What day-to-day benefits does it offer citizens?

We have a very recent example: the application of the citizen folder, with more than 400 services or administrative procedures of the Board, gives access to 22 data sources and facilitates the download of up to 9 different certificates (large families, de facto couples, etc. …). And, for the first time, up to 14 Board cards can be stored in the mobile wallet or digital wallet. Another important advance has been the response time thanks to robotization. Aid took more than two years to be granted, while now the average is 37 days, and there are even examples of aid that can be collected the day after the application period ends.

«Our budgetary and political stability attracts investment and entrepreneurship»

Can you advance some of the bets that you are already working on in the medium term?

We already have the draft of the preliminary draft of the Digital Andalusia Law (baptized as LADI) which will not be a law for technologists, but to guarantee the rights and services of the citizen. For example, it includes the creation of an assistance network for carrying out digital procedures, being the first administration in Spain to have it. This law will include many new features that we will announce. In addition, we are already working on the Digital Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation Strategy of SMEs and the Cloud Strategy of Andalusia 2030. We have already approved the Andalusian strategies for Cybersecurity 2022-2025, Artificial Intelligence 2030, and the Digital Training Plan of Andalusia 2022. -2025, the Strategy for Audiovisual and Digital Content Creation and the Digital Administration focused on people.

How far do you think they will have come by the time the legislature ends?

The goal is to have a 100% digitalized Andalusia by 2030. We are on the right track, but we must continue working because technology advances rapidly and we must adapt to the changes that come. To this end, the Digital Agency of Andalusia has already allocated 532 million euros to the digital transformation of the 1,000 million planned until 2027.

Are European funds being channeled well to make them a useful tool in this entire process?

Yes. A large part of these funds from the Digital Agency of Andalusia are European and, for the Andalusian Government, it is a priority to execute them efficiently, as we are doing.

What advantages does Andalusia offer digital nomads?

Andalusia is an ideal land for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. An ideal place to work and undertake with a favorable climate with thousands of hours of sunshine a year. In addition, we have a network of digitization centers called “Puntos Vuela”. They are a “mini Board” in towns with Wi-Fi, a maker space with robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality devices and drones, laptops and tablets, demonstration areas for digital, health and financial services.

Is there good collaboration with the central Administration?

We would like the Government of Pedro Sánchez to take more into account the autonomous communities when preparing its plans and when distributing European funds, but, despite this, we have reached important agreements, such as the agreement with EOI to launch eight High Business Performance centers, eight Digital Entrepreneurship centers, training for new professionals for the digital economy and “upskilling” training programs in large Andalusian cities.