The lead United Nations agency on information and communication technology (ICT) issues today reported that more than 80 per cent of countries have met the global target of creating national e-strategies by this year.
Another seven per cent of the world’s economies were in the process of developing such strategies, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said in a report.
The report, entitled “National e-Strategies for Development: Global Status and Perspectives 2010,” was unveiled at a forum of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) 2010 in Geneva. Its findings confirm global recognition of the critical importance of ICTs to ongoing economic and social development, according to ITU.
“It is very encouraging to see that so many countries recognize the key importance of having a national e-strategy, and I am convinced that ICTs will in the future form an integral part of every Government’s plans for economic and social development,” said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.
Prepared in collaboration with the five UN regional commissions, the report shows that a significant proportion of the world body’s 192 Member States had succeeded in incorporating many WSIS recommendations into their own national policies.
National e-strategies are now viewed by countries as instruments to stimulate and revitalize economic sectors still suffering from the effects of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, with many Governments integrating ICT strategies into their economic stimulus packages, according to ITU.
The report noted that e-business is viewed as having great potential, particularly for economies with a large informal sector, or for economies with a significant number of small and medium enterprises, where the adoption of ICTs by the business sector can have a positive economic impact.
Nine years ago, the UN General Assembly endorsed the World Summit on the Information Society, which was held in two phases, in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. As part of the implementation of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, it encouraged Governments to establish “comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable national e-strategies, including ICT strategies and sectoral e-strategies, as an integral part of national development plans and poverty reduction strategies,” in order to achieve the full potential of ICT for development.
According to the report, most Governments had mirrored this successful approach at the national level, involving civil society, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia, and regional and international organizations in their ICT strategies.
The report, however, points out that some countries needed to review plans to ensure they remained relevant in a fast-changing technology environment. Many countries would also benefit from the formulation of more comprehensive sectoral e-strategies, based on the lessons learned from the implementation of existing projects, it added.