and communication technology
(ICT) has become an indispensable tool in the fight against world
poverty. ICT provides developing nations with an unprecedented
opportunity to meet vital development goals such as poverty reduction,
basic healthcare and education far more effectively than before. Those
nations that succeed in harnessing the potential of ICT can look forward
to greatly expanded economic growth, dramatically improved human welfare
and stronger forms of democratic government.
UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF ICT
ICT can be a powerful
enabler of development goals because its unique characteristics
dramatically improve communication and the exchange of information to
strengthen and create new economic and social networks:
is pervasive and
cross-cutting. ICT can be applied to the full range of human
activity from personal use to business and government. It is
multifunctional and flexible, allowing for tailored
solutions—based on personalization and localization—to meet
is a key enabler in the creation
of networks and thus allows those with access to benefit from
exponentially increasing returns as usage increases (i.e. network
fosters the dissemination of
information and knowledge by separating content from its
physical location. This flow of information is largely impervious to
geographic boundaries—allowing remote communities to become
integrated into global networks and making information, knowledge
and culture accessible, in theory, to anyone.
"digital" and "virtual" nature of many ICT
products and services allows for zero
or declining marginal costs. Replication of content is virtually
free regardless of its volume, and marginal costs for distribution
and communication are near zero. As a result, ICT can radically
reduce transaction costs.
power to store, retrieve, sort, filter, distribute and share
information seamlessly can lead to substantial efficiency
gains in production, distribution and markets. ICT streamlines
supply and production chains and makes many business processes and
transactions leaner and more effective.
increase in efficiency and subsequent reduction of costs brought
about by ICT is leading to the creation of new products, services
and distribution channels within traditional industries, as well as innovative
business models and whole new industries. Intangible assets like
intellectual capital are increasingly becoming the key source of
value. With the required initial investment being just a fraction of
what was required in the more physical-asset intensive industrial
economy, barriers to entry are significantly lowered, and
facilitates disintermediation, as it makes it possible for users to
acquire products and services directly from the original provider,
reducing the need for intermediaries. This cannot only be a
considerable source of efficiency, but has in fact been one of the
factors leading to the creation of so-called "markets of
one," leveraging ICT's potential to cater to the needs or
preferences of users and consumers on an individual basis.
is global. Through the creation and expansion of networks, ICT can
transcend cultural and linguistic barriers by providing individuals
and groups the ability to live and work anywhere, allowing local
communities to become part of the global network economy without
regard to nationality, and challenging current policy, legal and
regulatory structures within and between nations.
suggest that ICT have the potential, if conceived as a means and not an
end in itself, to be a powerful enabler of development. However, the
fact that ICT can, in theory, assist development efforts does not mean
that it will necessarily do so. In order for ICT to positively foster
development goals, it must be employed effectively.
* from: Creating a
Development Dynamic: Final Report of the Digital Opportunity Initiative,
Accenture, Markle Foundation, UNDP, July 2001
The manuals shall
provide guidelines for countries to improve or optimize its e-readiness.
Self-assessment of e-readiness is provided on separate document as a
framework to determine the level of each country. Various factors were
taken into account in this self-assessment. Some of these factors were
later becoming key factors, which need to be considered in improving
e-readiness. Some were prerequisites and played crucial role, as they
had to be available even for the initial level.
The prerequisites for
each level were discussed first. Later, upgrade path, stages of
development and what to focus during improvement will be presented.
Lastly, each key factor contributing toward development of ICT shall be
identified and analyzed.