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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
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
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).