Information Economy Report 2010

ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation

The Information Economy Report 2010: ICT, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation is the fifth in the flagship series published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). As one of few annual reports that monitor global trends related to information and communication technologies (ICTs) from a development perspective, the Report is a valuable reference source for policymakers in developing countries. In the 2010 edition, special attention is given to the potential impact of ICTs in enterprises for reducing poverty and improving livelihoods. The evidence presented in this Report suggests that more attention should be given by policymakers and other stakeholders to opportunities in this area.


  • Global and regional trends in the diffusion and affordability of such ICTs as fixed and mobile telephony, radio, PCs, Internet and broadband in low-income countries.
  • Concrete examples of how and under what circumstances different ICTs mediated by enterprise can help reduce poverty.
  • An analysis of how business ICT applications, such as those that support information flows with key customers or suppliers, can help address specific information and communication needs of small and micro-enterprises in rural and urban areas of low-income countries.
  • A discussion on the role of recent developments such as mobile payments, mobile micro-insurance, social outsourcing and ICT micro-enterprises.
  • Recommendations to governments and development partners on how to leverage ICTs in enterprises with a view to bringing greater benefits to the poor.
  • Statistical annex with international data related to trade in ICT goods and services, the importance of the ICT sector and the degree to which ICTs are used by enterprises of varying size and in different industries.

The Information Economy Report 2010 puts the spotlight on how improved access to ICTs - especially mobile phones - in low-income countries can impact on development and poverty. For the first time, there are realistic opportunities for inhabitants of remote locations in low-income countries to get connected via ICTs. This opens new opportunities for poor farmers, fishermen or entrepreneurs in urban slums to develop their businesses and livelihoods, reduce information search and transactions costs, and benefit from improved market efficiency. The Report explores policy options for countries seeking to make the most of the new opportunities to leverage ICTs and enterprise to bring tangible benefits to the poor.

The analysis draws on specific cases from around the world - for example (a) mobile vendors in the Gambia; (b) mobile money services in Afghanistan and Kenya; (c) "social outsourcing" in India; (d) ICT manufacturing in China; (e) animation services in Nepal; (f) village phone ladies in Bangladesh, Uganda and Ghana; (g) PC/Internet-related micro-enterprises in Nigeria; (h) ICT use by dairy farmers in Bhutan, onion growers in Ghana, fishermen in India, women weavers in Nigeria, farmers in the United Republic of Tanzania, and artisans in Viet Nam.

The Statistical Annex provides data on ICT infrastructure, ICT use, the ICT sector and ICT trade for up to 200 economies.

For more information about UNCTAD´s work on ICT for Development please contact:

ICT Analysis Section, Division on Technology and Logistics
Telephone: +41 22 917 55 91
Fax: +41 22 917 00 52