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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Improved ICT access to boost economies – World Bank

Improved access and quality usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will boost economies, especially in developing countries of the world.

World Bank in a latest report released weekend noted that it would also make for more efficient and globally competitiveness.

The 2006 Information and Communications for Development Report identified Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), in addition to effective competition as vital to extending the reach and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) globally.

The report titled, "Information and Communications for Development 2006: Global Trends and Policies" is a new World Bank report addressing critical role being played by ICT in economic development.

It also provides a global overview of ICT trends and policies in developing countries, covering issues such as financing infrastructure, the importance of public-private partnerships and effective competition to extending access, using ICT in doing business and formulating national e-strategies.

According to a press statement made available to Business Champion and endorsed by the duo of Henny Rahardja and Ludi Joseph of World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) said that the ICT At-a-Glance tables for 144 economies showed the most recent national data on key indicators of ICT development.

The data enable assessment and comparison for both over time and across economies to assess ICT capacity, performance, progress and opportunities.

Further, the report said that although there was global progress in improving access to ICT, poor countries still lag behind in making ICT applications such as in commonplaces like in governments, schools and business.

The report urged developing country governments to work across ministries and in partnership with the private sector to extend the reach and use of ICT.

The World Bank’s Information and Communications for Development 2006: Global Trends and Policies takes stock of the progress that has been achieved worldwide in rolling out access to affordable ICT and provides evidence on what makes for success in adopting ICT to meet development challenges.

The report, which includes a series of ICT indicators for almost 150 countries, builds on experience drawn from the Bank’s own significant involvement in the sector.

The Bank is the largest international donor in the field of ICT for development and has ICT projects in over 80 countries with a portfolio amounting to more than US$3 billion about N386,970,000,000 trillion.

World Bank’s Vice President on Infrastructure, Kathy Sierra said "The report shows that private sector competition remains the driving force in extending telecommunications access to billions of people around the World."

Stressing that cooperation is also a key to ensuring further progress cooperation between government and private sector to connect the next billions, "within governments to extend e-services to citizens, and across countries to ensure regional access and connectivity."

was also provided to strengthen institutional support for the Ministry of Works, Communications and Transport and capacity-building for national and external debt management.

The development of a national export strategy to promote economic diversification and an emergency post-disaster scholarship and skills development programme were also part of the assistance programme.

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