High speed internet is key to economic growth

Access to affordable, high quality internet and mobile phone services enables development across all levels of the economy and society.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The report by the World Bank, "Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact" takes an in-depth look at how ICT impacts economic growth in developing countries. The report finds that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points. It also identifies the mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.

“Internet users in developing countries increased tenfold from 2000 to 2007, and there are now over four billion mobile phone subscribers in developing countries,” says Mohsen Khalil, World Bank Group Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies. “These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers.”

Broadband also provides the basis for local IT services industries, which create youth employment, increase productivity and exports, and promote social inclusion. Developing countries should seize this largely untapped opportunity, with less than 15 percent of the potential global market for IT services industries currently being exploited. In 2007, this market represented nearly US$500 billion.

“Governments should proactively encourage the development of local IT services industries through policies and incentives directed at entrepreneurs and the private sector, and through investments in skills and infrastructure,” says World Bank Economist Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, editor of the report.

The report also contains new empirical evidence from Brazil, Ghana, India and other countries demonstrating that modern, technology-enabled governments can become more efficient, transparent and responsive. A survey of over 30 countries shows that successful e-government requires organizational and behavioral changes that must be driven by high-level political commitment and effective coordination.

“Access to broadband completes the information foundation for a modern economy and should be a priority in national development plans.” says Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Governments can play a key role in expanding broadband access by policies and incentives that encourage competition and private investment.”

The report builds on experience drawn from the Bank’s own significant involvement in the sector. The Bank Group is the largest international donor in the field of ICT for development and supports ICT activities projects in over 100 countries with a portfolio amounting to more than US$3 billion.

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Nicaragua: $20 million for Telecommunications

August 2016

Using a World Bank loan coverage and internet telephony will be expanded in the North Caribbean Coast, the South Caribbean Coast, the Autonomous Region, and Rio San Juan and Managua.

From a statement issued by the World Bank:

MANAGUA, August 17, 2016 – The World Bank (WB) and the Government of Nicaragua signed today an agreement to implement a project aimed at increasing broadband access and make further progress in the development of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), especially in the Caribbean region of Nicaragua.

Panamá As Seen by the IMF in March 2013

April 2013

Panama’s economy continues to grow strongly, buoyed by the Panama Canal expansion and large public infrastructure projects.

With average annual growth rates of 8.5 percent, Panama’s per capita GDP has more than doubled over the past decade. This impressive growth performance has been driven by a steady rise in public and private investment in a stable economic environment buttressed by prudent policies.

Broadband as a Potential Engine for Development

June 2011

Broadband telecommunications technologies have the potential to stimulate rapid economic growth and facilitate job creation.

The report, "Broadband: a platform for progress", published by the United Nations, urges countries to implement national plans for broadband, so as not to risk losing the benefits of global high-speed digital communication .

Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009: Americas

September 2009

Market Overview. Internet access and applications. Benchmarking ICT developments in the Americas.

Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009: Americas, by International Telecommunication Union.

When it comes to information society developments in the Americas region, a promising development is mobile cellular uptake, and several of the region’s developing countries have a higher level of mobile penetration than its developed countries. During the past few years, mobile telephony has grown rapidly and is likely to exceed 100 per cent penetration in most countries in the near future. It is notable that no other region has such a strong presence of strategic investors, which account for three out of every four mobile subscriptions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Americas region also stands out in terms of VoIP traffic, which has been growing steeply in Central and South America.

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