The Information Economy Report 2006: The Development Perspective provides unique data on the adoption of ICT by enterprises in developing countries. It also explores ICT policy options in a developing-country context and proposes a framework for national ICT policy reviews and for the design and assessment of pro-poor e-strategies.
The Report´s analysis of trends in core ICT indicators such as the use of Internet and mobile phone, as well as the role of broadband in promoting the information economy, concludes that the diffusion of ICT in developing countries still needs government intervention in areas where private providers might be discouraged to go because of costs associated to geographic hurdles or the absence of a critical mass of customers. Other conclusions are that broadband is key to developing an information economy, and that industrial and trade policies in ICT-producing developing countries should support the creation of business opportunities in ICT-related industries. UNCTAD´s research on measuring the impact of ICTs on GDP in developing countries reveals a positive contribution even in poorer countries. But countries that already have a certain level of ICT uptake seem to benefit most from the new technologies.
The Report presents a model ICT policy review framework developed by UNCTAD which is illustrated with best practice examples from developing countries. Conducting ICT policy reviews, as recommended in the Report, would enable governments to understand the policy challenges and opportunities, and quantify the main achievements regarding the implementation of the national ICT plan; identify critical success factors, best practices and conditions, as well as reasons for failure, in order to be able to adjust and reform their ICT policies; and formulate new and targeted policy decisions to support and accelerate ICT diffusion.
The Information Economy Report 2006 also addresses the following issues:
- Basic ICT access and use indicators, ICTs impact on enterprises in developing countries, the ICT industry sector, ICTs and international trade in services, and approaches to measuring the impact of ICTs on productivity and growth;
- how ICTs can improve the efficiency of both upstream and downstream stages of the global petroleum industry;
- ICTs, enterprises and jobs;
- Service Oriented Architecture and Web Services Technologies, including their significance for the evolution of e-business technologies;
- the layered Internet architecture and a proposal of the corresponding governance principles and policies;
- the legal nature of communications and data messages in electronic commerce, and the experience of developing countries in amending their domestic legal framework to reflect the needs of an electronic commerce environment.