Few manifestations of the power of human creativity have so extensively and so quickly transformed society as the rise of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) over the past decade. Dramatic as the changes may be, the process of assimilating and learning from them has only just begun.
This third edition of the E-Commerce and Development Report demonstrates that, while the Internet euphoria of the late 1990s may have subsided, the economic gains of ICT have broadly permeated business and society alike. The report identifies some of the implications that the growth of the digital economy may have for developing countries. It aims to provide practitioners and policy makers with a better understanding of the options available to them in leading sectors of developing-country economies. It also strives to contribute to the debates at the World Summit on the Information Society.
The report begins with an overview of general ICT and e-commerce trends and goes on to discuss issues of major policy and strategic concern in many countries: the effect of ICT on productivity, the key elements of national e-strategies, and the implications of open-source and free software for ICT and economic development. The report then turns to a discussion of sectoral issues and reviews the application of ICT in business process outsourcing, the marketing of agricultural products, and the use of online dispute resolution systems to resolve commercial conflicts.