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ICTs : information and communication technologies for the poor

TORERO, Maximo
VON BRAUN, Joachim
November 2005

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This 'issue brief' describes the proliferation of electronically communicated information, which has accelerated economic and social change across all areas of human activity worldwide. It observes that the rapid growth of ICTs in developing countries is partly a result of very low initial access, and therefore in absolute terms developing countries are still well behind the developed world in access to ICTs. It concludes that ICTs offer an opportunity for development, but not a panacea. For the potential benefits of ICTs to be realized in developing countries, many prerequisites need to be put in place: prompt deregulation, effective competition among service providers, free movement and adoption of technologies, targeted and competitive subsidies to reduce the access gap, and institutional arrangements to increase the use of ICTs in the provision of public goods. The paper advocates for the importance of all three "Cs": connectivity, capability to use the new tools, and relevant content provided in accessible and useful forms

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