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 Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Development Gateway is launching a new special report - Information Society: The Next Steps.

The Information Society has produced a tantalizing array of new information and communication technologies (ICT) that have transformed today's approach to development. Access to these technologies is spreading rapidly. This year, the number of Internet users in developing countries is crossing the 500 million mark, surpassing industrial nations for the first time. By some estimates, more than 75% of the world's population now lives within range of a mobile network. Yet the long-heralded promise of ICT remains far out of reach for most of the developing world. For the information poor, economic and social gaps are in fact widening - both within and between countries. Following on the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) of December 2003, WSIS Phase II in November 2005 will assess progress and prompt further global action to capture the promise of ICT for all. This Special Report "Information Society: Next Steps" looks at how the ICT landscape is changing in the developing world and what lies ahead. Experts from governments, donors, NGOs and the private sector speak out about effective policies, promising applications and innovative business models.

The online report includes:
- Interviews with experts on how to create an effective enabling environment for ICT for development and how to finance it;
- collections of documents, research and statistics on tools and applications that can benefit developing countries, found on the Development Gateway portal and other websites; and
- a unique section devoted to the "voices" of those developing and using ICT from both the North and South, relating stories contributed through a recent Development Gateway survey of our members.

Interviews with the following people, among others, will be featured:
- Charles Geiger, Executive Director, WSIS Executive Secretariat
- Pierre Guislain, World Bank Group
- Aimal Marjan, Afghan Ministry of Communication
- Sam Pitroda, Indian Knowledge Commission
- Danilo Piaggesi,  Inter-American Development Bank

Read this Special Report.