Recognizing the growing importance of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to economic and social development, many Governments have elaborated comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable national ICT strategies. Regular reviews of ICT policy plans, involving different stakeholders, are important. At the same time, assessing the impact of policy measures and sector-specific interventions is a challenging task.
Many developing countries have not yet defined, as part of their ICT plans, mechanisms for ongoing policy review, assessment and monitoring to ensure that evolving ICT strategies are consistent with their development goals and to maximize the positive contributions of investment in ICT. Understanding past developments is important in formulating new and targeted policy proposals that can support and accelerate ICT penetration within Government, businesses and the society at large.
To assist government officials in realizing this process, this publication builds on UNCTAD’s longstanding work on ICT policies and on ICT measurement for economic development and trade. It identifies key challenges and solutions in relation to the strategic review of ICT policy plans including leadership, implementation mechanisms, monitoring and review, coordination, institutional framework and the roles of each stakeholder. The publication proposes a model policy review framework and presents a pragmatic toolbox for government policymakers. The core aim of the ICT Policy Reviews (ICTPRs) is to assess the implementation of national ICT strategies by examining how ICT and e-business development issues have been operationalized in development strategies and to identify policies, programmes and implementation mechanisms favouring the development of the information economy.
UNCTAD carried out its first ICTPR from 2009 to 2010 at the request of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) of Egypt. This publication seeks to explain how other Governments could benefit by undertaking a similar exercise. Several Governments of developing countries have expressed their interest in benefiting from UNCTAD assistance in this area. This publication intends to provide them with guidance on carrying out such reviews.