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WSIS Forum 2010
National e-Strategies for Development, Global Status and Perspectives 2010
 
 
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The report National e-Strategies for Development, Global Status and Perspectives 2010 is a new publication within the scope of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It has been written to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Tunis phase of WSIS in 2005 and the adoption of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.

The report reviews progress in the development of comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable national e-strategies, and makes recommendations on policies and measures. These include ICT strategies as an integral part of national development plans and poverty reduction strategies, as was called for by the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.

Major questions addressed in the report are:

  • What is the status of national e-strategies worldwide in 2010?

  • What are the approaches and trends in ICT strategies? How can they be explained?

  • What is the status of sectoral e-strategies? What trends can be observed?

  • Have national e-strategies been integrated into poverty reduction strategies?

  • How do ICT strategies evolve?

The report shows that at least 161 countries and territories (84 per cent of all countries in the world) have already fulfilled the WSIS target of having a national e-strategy in place by 2010, and at least another 13 countries (7 per cent) are in the process of formulating or adopting a national e-strategy. The report emphasizes, however, that there is still room to improve existing plans, especially regarding the strategic orientation and integration of ICT into national development plans and poverty reduction strategies.

There is a consensus among stakeholders that health care, agriculture and environmental protection could benefit from the use of ICT. A wide range of initiatives and projects are being implemented in these areas. Nevertheless, many countries have still not formulated national sectoral e-strategies that are necessary to make use of the full potential of ICT for the economy and society.

Many national e-strategies follow similar approaches: telecommunication regulation, ICT as a driver for economic growth, innovation and employment, and capacity development of ICT professionals. Other common trends are the establishment of e-government solutions, making the national ICT industry globally competitive, and following the WSIS multi-stakeholder approach. Infrastructure remains a concern, and broadband and mobility are the two major technological areas that governments are addressing. In most strategies, the private sector plays a crucial role in deploying ICT infrastructure. Nearly all countries are continuing along the path towards liberalization in order to stimulate the market through competition. Tariff reductions are another effect expected to arise through increasing competition.

Growing competition between countries in the ICT sector is also driving national ICT strategies. Many governments are hoping to benefit from increasing their exports of ICT or by attracting outsourcing to their countries, while others are trying to protect their positions. Issues of intellectual property rights, international standards and economic regional integration are becoming more visible in national e-strategies. Some studies on e-strategies show that many countries are focusing on making their own ICT industries globally competitive. There is strong competition for well educated and skilled ICT professionals.

Confidence and security are still a concern in many national e-strategies. Governments and other stakeholders agree that they need to take measures to establish trust in ICT applications. This development seems to be prompted by the fact that two of the most prominent sectoral applications of information and communication technologies are e-government and e-business. Sensitive transactions take place in these two sectors, and uptake by citizens and customers depends on trust in these technologies.

One unique feature of the whole WSIS process has been its multi-stakeholder approach. This approach is also being followed by most governments at the national level, involving civil society, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia, and regional and international organizations. ITU will continue to support its Member States in their efforts to elaborate and improve their national e-strategies and to keep track of worldwide developments in this area.

The report largely draws on ITU’s WSIS Stocktaking activities (www.itu.int/wsis/stocktaking/ index.html), national ICT and sectoral e-strategies of Member States, as well as on contributions from the five United Nations Regional Commissions, namely: the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA).

 

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