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Information Economy Report 2011
Source: unctad
Source Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Created: Oct 25, 2011

ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development (PSD) is the sixth in the flagship series published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Report shows that the potential of leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs) to develop the private sector is far from fully exploited. It finds that many national and donor strategies related to PSD currently fail to take adequate account of the ICT potential, which has greatly expanded thanks to changes in the global ICT landscape. The Report then makes policy recommendations on how to remedy this situation.

The Information Economy Report 2011 identifies four facets of the ICT-PSD interface and argues that policy interventions should take into account this holistic approach.

ICT infrastructure as a factor in the investment climate.
ICT use as a factor to improve the performance of the private sector.
The ICT producing sector as a strategic component of the private sector.
ICT use as a component of interventions aimed at facilitating PSD.
In these areas, UNCTAD makes several policy recommendations, such as:

To take a comprehensive and systematic approach when integrating the ICT dimension into PSD strategies in developing countries.
To continue to extend affordable and relevant connectivity to locations with poor ICT infrastructure.
To adopt regulatory frameworks aiming to improve confidence in the use of technologies and their applications.
To include ICT modules in business skills′ training programmes.
To harness mobile money services to meet the needs of MSEs and to make financial markets more inclusive.
To use ICT tools to reduce the cost of doing business, and to help MSEs bring goods and services to domestic and international markets.
To develop Donor Guidelines to ensure that the ICT potential is fully harnessed in their PSD strategies.
The Information Economy Report 2011 explores various options and examples of interventions by national governments and their development partners related to the four facets of the interface between ICTs and PSD. Among the cases cited are:

Customs automation in Madagascar and Liberia and reforms to streamline business registration procedures in the Philippines, as a means to provide a more conducive business environment.
Programmes to increase the number and quality of entrepreneurial and ICT skills in Egypt, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Panama as a means to promote the development of human resources.
Regulating and promoting the development of mobile money applications in Africa, as a means to enhance financial inclusiveness and open up business opportunities for micro- and small enterprises.
The case of ICT freelancers in Bangladesh, as an example of existing opportunities to find low-skilled employment in the ICT producing sector.
The use of ICTs to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries, as a means to overcome the existing gender gap in available digital opportunities.
In the Statistical Annex of the Report UNCTAD presents among other things new data on ICT use by enterprises of different size and in various industries.

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