The Information Economy Report, which replaces the E-Commerce and Development Report that UNCTAD has published annually since 2000, looks at recent events, trends and processes in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT) and identifies their major implications for the economic and social prospects of developing countries. Drawing on the results of UNCTAD´s work on measuring ICT usage, the Report provides the freshest information available about the adoption of ICT by enterprises in developing countries. The Report also explores policy options that developing countries might consider in order to maximize the contribution of ICT-based business and commerce applications to their national development goals.
The Report shows that, while in some developing regions the number of Internet users has grown substantially, overall the gap between developed and developing countries remains wide. And the quality of connections is just as important as their number. While some countries have seen spectacular growth in broadband access, there are still large variations worldwide.
The Report also examines the impact of ICT on the economic performance and trade competitiveness of developing countries. There is an urgent need to explore policies and best practices to help enterprises use ICT to enhance their competitiveness. Strategies are needed to ease the transition of developing countries to an information economy, in which the role of ICT extends beyond e-commerce to embrace a broad range of social and economic manifestations, including the Internet and e-business. ICT policy frameworks profoundly affect growth, productivity, employment and business performance. The change in this report´s title and scope - from e-commerce to the information economy - acknowledges this evolution.
Other issues covered in the Information Economy Report 2005 are:
- The impact of international Internet backbone connectivity arrangements on the cost of Internet access in developing countries
- The role of e-credit information in providing access to trade-related finance
- The challenges faced by developing countries in promoting tourism through the Internet
- Information security concerns and related risk management approaches
- Adapting existing legal frameworks to combat cybercrime