The Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development

Title: The Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development
Pages: 166 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-1-112833-8
e-ISBN: 978-92-1-055120-5
ISSN: 2075-4396
Publisher: UNCTAD
Date (published): 19/10/2011
Date (accessed): 04/11/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development (PSD) is the sixth in the flagship series published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Report shows that the potential of leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs) to develop the private sector is far from fully exploited. It finds that many national and donor strategies related to PSD currently fail to take adequate account of the ICT potential, which has greatly expanded thanks to changes in the global ICT landscape. The Report then makes policy recommendations on how to remedy this situation.

The Information Economy Report 2011 identifies four facets of the ICT-PSD interface and argues that policy interventions should take into account this holistic approach.

* ICT infrastructure as a factor in the investment climate.
* ICT use as a factor to improve the performance of the private sector.
* The ICT producing sector as a strategic component of the private sector.
* ICT use as a component of interventions aimed at facilitating PSD.

In these areas, UNCTAD makes several policy recommendations, such as:
* To take a comprehensive and systematic approach when integrating the ICT dimension into PSD strategies in developing countries.
* To continue to extend affordable and relevant connectivity to locations with poor ICT infrastructure.
* To adopt regulatory frameworks aiming to improve confidence in the use of technologies and their applications.
* To include ICT modules in business skills´ training programmes.
* To harness mobile money services to meet the needs of MSEs and to make financial markets more inclusive.
* To use ICT tools to reduce the cost of doing business, and to help MSEs bring goods and services to domestic and international markets.
* To develop Donor Guidelines to ensure that the ICT potential is fully harnessed in their PSD strategies.

The Information Economy Report 2011 explores various options and examples of interventions by national governments and their development partners related to the four facets of the interface between ICTs and PSD. Among the cases cited are:
* Customs automation in Madagascar and Liberia and reforms to streamline business registration procedures in the Philippines, as a means to provide a more conducive business environment.
* Programmes to increase the number and quality of entrepreneurial and ICT skills in Egypt, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Panama as a means to promote the development of human resources.
* Regulating and promoting the development of mobile money applications in Africa, as a means to enhance financial inclusiveness and open up business opportunities for micro- and small enterprises.
* The case of ICT freelancers in Bangladesh, as an example of existing opportunities to find low-skilled employment in the ICT producing sector.
* The use of ICTs to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries, as a means to overcome the existing gender gap in available digital opportunities.

In the Statistical Annex of the Report UNCTAD presents among other things new data on ICT use by enterprises of different size and in various industries"

Mobile Phones Dominate in South Africa

Title: Mobile Phones Dominate in South Africa
Author: Jan Hutton
Source: Nielsen Wire
Date (published): 30/09/2011
Date (accessed): 17/10/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Africa is in the midst of a technological revolution, and nothing illustrates that fact than the proliferation of mobile phones. Consider this: more Africans have access to mobile phones than to clean drinking water. In South Africa, the continent’s strongest economy, mobile phone use has gone from 17 percent of adults in 2000 to 76 percent in 2010. Today, more South Africans – 29 million – use mobile phones than radio (28 million), TV (27 million) or personal computers (6 million). Only 5 million South Africans use landline phones.

Nielsen’s recently released Mobile Insights study in South Africa, which examined consumers’ usage of and attitudes toward mobile phones, networks and services, reveals a number of interesting insights:

High levels of network loyalty: 95 percent of subscribers have been with their carrier for an average of 4.2 years, and 81 percent said they’d recommend their network providers to friends and family, reinforcing the importance of word-of-mouth and reputation in the industry.

Move from pre-paid to contracts: While pre-paid plans still make up between 82 and 85 percent of the market, 25 percent of subscribers say they could switch from pre-paid to contract packages within the next year.

Network quality a key decision factor: More than a quarter (27%) said they left their previous provider due to poor network quality.

Nokia rules: More than half (52%) own that company’s handsets, followed by Samsung and BlackBerry, and 56 percent of those currently using other brands indicated their next handset would likely be a Nokia.

How do South Africans Use their phones?

As in other countries, mobile phones are being used in a range of ways aside from talking. South Africa ranks fifth in the world for mobile data usage, ahead of the United States, which ranks seventh.

More than 20 percent of those surveyed said they download ringtones and a similar number said they download music. Wallpapers, screensavers and pictures are also popular downloadables. The mobile phone as an Internet device is also on the rise – 11 percent of South Africans use their mobiles to go online, and consumers aged 25-34 are the heaviest users. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, used by 85 percent of mobile subscribers. Half of all users of Facebook in South Africa access the site via their mobiles. MXIT, a mobile instant messaging platform, is also popular in the country, with 61 percent saying they access the site.

SMS text messaging is practically ubiquitous among South African mobile customers, and is used by almost 4.2 times more people than e-mail. More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers prefer sending texts to calling, in large part because it is less expensive, and 10 percent believe texting to be a faster way of communicating.

The majority (60%) of South African mobile users said they are aware of mobile banking services offered by banks, but only 21 percent say they use such services. A much larger number of those aware of the services said they would never use them, suggesting banks might need to invest in communicating the benefits and security of mobile banking."

Global mobile connections to surpass 6 billion by year-end

Title: Global mobile connections to surpass 6 billion by year-end
Source: Wireless Intelligence:
Date (published): 15/09/2011
Date (accessed): 21/09/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Latest billion connections added in just 16 months; Asia-Pacific to account for 50% of global total

Total global mobile connections are set to surpass 6 billion by year-end, according to the latest Wireless Intelligence forecasts, a landmark which would mean the industry has added the last 1 billion connections in just 16 months. Wireless Intelligence estimates that the 6 billion milestone will be reached in late November and that total global connections will end the year at 6.07 billion.

The latest census estimates predict that the world’s population will also reach a major milestone soon, surpassing 7 billion people worldwide in October 2011. This implies a global mobile penetration rate of 86 percent, up from 74 percent at the 5 billion connections point.

Our forecasts for Q4 2011 include a number of other milestones. Global growth is being driven by the Asia-Pacific region, which will rise to account for 50 percent of all connections by year-end, up a percentage point from Q2 2011. Almost two-thirds of the Asia-Pacific total relates to China and India, the two largest mobile markets in the world, which are both on track to each hit 1 billion connections early next year.

Six of the world's top ten largest mobile markets will be located in Asia-Pacific by this point. As well as China (#1) and India (#2), these include Indonesia (#4), Vietnam (#7), Japan (#8) and Pakistan (#9). Also in Q4, Africa is set to overtake the Americas as the second-largest regional market on 648 million connections (11 percent of the total). Africa is forecast to record the strongest year-on-year connections growth of all the global regions, rising 18 percent over the previous year. The quarter will also see Eastern Europe overtake Western Europe in terms of connections. Western Europe is forecast to record the weakest year-on-year growth, up just 3 percent. The 5 billion global connections milestone was reached in July 2010, and came 18 months after the 4 billion mark was reached at the end of 2008. The mobile penetration rate on a global basis at the 5 billion mark was 74 percent, compared to 60 percent at 4 billion."

Measuring the Information Society 2011

Title: Measuring the Information Society 2011
Pages: 174 pp.
ISBN: 92-61-13801-2
Publisher: International Telecommunication Union
Date (published): 15/09/2011
Date (accessed): 16/09/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, excluding Annex 5, which includes the tariff data)
"The latest edition of Measuring the Information Society features ITU's two key benchmarking tools to measure the Information Society: the ICT Development Index (IDI) and the ICT Price Basket (IPB). The IDI captures the level of ICT developments in 152 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the past two years. The IPB combines fixed telephone, mobile cellular and fixed broadband Internet tariffs for 165 economies into one measure and compares these across countries, and over time. The report also presents the latest global market trends, takes a closer look at broadband and analyses the digital divide among Internet users. The analytical report is complemented by a series of statistical tables providing country-level data for the indicators included in the two indices.

The IDI combines 11 indicators into a single measure that can be used as a benchmarking tool globally, regionally, and at national level, as well as helping track progress in ICT development over time. It measures ICT access, use and skills, and includes such indicators as mobile cellular subscriptions, households with a computer, fixed and mobile broadband Internet subscriptions, and basic literacy rates. For the first time this year, the IDI’s ‘ICT use’ sub-index grew more than the ‘ICT access’ sub-index, reflecting the fact that many countries have reached saturation levels in terms of basic ICT infrastructure and are becoming active ICT users.

Geneva, 15 September 2011 - New figures released today by ITU show that information and communication technology (ICT) uptake continues to accelerate worldwide, spurred by a steady fall in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services.

The new data, released in ITU’s flagship annual ICT report ‘Measuring the Information Society 2011’, rank the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland.

A key feature of the report is the ICT Development Index (IDI)*, which ranks 152 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2008 and 2010 scores. Most countries at the top of the ranking are from Europe and Asia Pacific. The United Arab Emirates and Russia rank first within their respective regions and Uruguay ranks highest in South America. Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Viet Nam, and Russia were some of the most dynamic countries between 2008 and 2010, with all of them making substantial improvements in their IDI ranks.

All countries included in the IDI improved their scores this year, underlining the increasing pervasiveness of ICTs in today’s global information society. “While the IDI leaders are all from the developed world, it is extremely encouraging to see that the most dynamic performers are developing countries,” said Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General. “The ‘mobile miracle’ is putting ICT services within reach of even the most disadvantaged people and communities. Our challenge now is to replicate that success in broadband.” This report shows that while ICT and income levels are closely related, getting the right public policy mix can drive faster take-up and a number of countries, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea have higher IDI levels than their income level would predict.

Mobile now ubiquitous
The spread of mobile networks in developing countries remains buoyant, with 20 per cent growth in mobile subscriptions over the past year and no signs of a slowdown.
In developed countries, on the other hand, mobile cellular penetration has reached saturation, with average penetration now over 100% at end 2010, compared with 70% in developing countries. With more than five billion subscriptions and global population coverage of over 90%, mobile cellular is now de facto ubiquitous.
Mobile broadband (‘3G’) services are also spreading quickly; by end 2010, 154 economies worldwide had launched 3G networks. Wireless broadband Internet access remains the strongest growth sector in developing countries, with mobile broadband growing by 160% between 2009 and 2010. Countries registering the highest gains in the IDI ‘ICT use’ sub-index are mostly those which have achieved a sizeable increase in mobile broadband subscriptions.
Conversely, the number of dial-up Internet subscriptions has been decreasing rapidly since 2007 and, based on current trends, the ‘death of dial-up’ is expected to become a reality over the next few years.

Affordability improves, but developing world still paying too much
Globally, telecommunication and Internet services are becoming more affordable. According to the 2010 ICT Price Basket (IPB), which spans 165 economies and combines the average cost of fixed telephone, mobile cellular and fixed broadband Internet services, the price of ICT services dropped by 18% globally between 2008 and 2010, with the biggest decrease in fixed broadband Internet services, where average prices have come down by 52%.
All economies in the IPB top ten have high GNI per capita, and, with the exception of the United Arab Emirates, all are from Europe and Asia Pacific. In developed countries, average prices for ICT services correspond to no more than 1.5. % of monthly per capita income, compared with 17% in developing countries. But while broadband prices declined sharply worldwide, a high-speed Internet connection remains unaffordable in many low-income countries. For example, in Africa at end 2010, fixed broadband services cost on average the equivalent of 290% of monthly income, down from 650% in 2008.

Big disparities in speed and service quality
Comparing fixed- and mobile broadband technologies and services, the report also finds huge differences in network capacity, speed and quality.
In many developing countries, while the minimum speed for broadband (256 kbit/s) may be sufficient for email and other very basic services, it is inadequate for graphics-rich data-intensive applications and services. In addition, the report notes that the actual speed experienced by both fixed- and mobile broadband customers is often much lower than the advertised speed, and calls on ICT regulators to take steps to encourage operators to provide consumers with clearer information on coverage, speed and prices.
“A new digital divide is unfolding between those with high-speed/capacity/quality access – as is the case in many high-income countries – and those with lower speed/capacity/quality access, as is the case in many low-income countries,” said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Policy-makers should act swiftly to facilitate the spread of broadband and ensure that broadband services are faster, more reliable and affordable.”
The report also points to important qualitative differences between fixed- and mobile broadband services. The average speed of a mobile broadband subscription does not usually match that of a high-speed fixed subscription and usually includes data caps, unlike the ‘unlimited data’ fixed broadband offers that are now widely available. This represents a challenge for countries where mobile is the only broadband access technology available to end users – which is the case in many developing countries.
Targeting youth could be transformational

ITU research indicates that targeting students may be the most effective way to increase Internet use in developing countries. The Internet is only used by an around 21 per cent of the population in the developing world, compared with almost 70 per cent in developed countries.

The Measuring the Information Society 2011 report suggests that the main barriers to Internet use are not always related to infrastructure and price. Usage patterns show major differences related to education, gender, income, age and geographical location of users (urban/rural). For example, there is remarkably little difference in patterns of Internet use among highly educated, high-income individuals across the developing and developed worlds. People with higher educational degrees use the Internet more than those with a lower level of education, and in most countries more men than women are online.

Young people (below the age of 25) are online more than older people, and there is a higher level of Internet use among those currently in school compared with those no longer studying. Assuming that people will continue using the Internet once they have become accustomed to being online, those currently enrolled at school or university are more likely to be future Internet users, too. For young people all over the world, social networking and user-created content like blogs have become key drivers of Internet uptake.
Given that 46 per cent of the population in developing countries is below the age of 25 (representing more than 2.5 billion people), the report suggests that one of the most effective ways to increase Internet use in these countries is by targeting the younger generation – for example through connecting schools and other educational institutions, and improving enrolment rates.

Download the executive summary: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian (PDF format)

Order the full report by clicking here"

Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Information and Communications: Annual Report: 2010-2011

Title: Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Information and Communications: Annual Report: 2010-2011
Pages: 38 pp.
Source: Ministry of Information and Communications
Publisher: Government of Bhutan
Date (published): 06/07/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: statistical report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"This Annual Report of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in the present format is being produced for the first time although the system of sharing and disseminating such information existed even in the past. The present report provides a general overview of some of the main activities implemented by MoIC and its line agencies during the financial year 2010-2011. Hereafter, this will become an annual feature and even expanded to provide thorough and more detailed statistical information, together with analysis of sector performance during the one year period."

International Experiences With Technology in Education: Final Report

Title: International Experiences With Technology in Education: Final Report
Authors: Marianne Bakia, Robert Murphy, Kea Anderson, Gucci Estrella Trinidad
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology
Date (published): August 2011
Date (accessed): 05/09/2011
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (MS Word)
"In a 2009 speech to education researchers, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “Just simply investing in the status quo isn't going to get us where we need to go…We’re competing with children from around the globe for jobs of the future. It's no longer the next state or the next region.”  He challenged education leaders to focus on four areas of education reform:

* Adopting rigorous standards that prepare students for success in college and the workforce;
* Recruiting and retaining effective teachers, especially in classrooms where they're needed most;
* Turning around low-performing schools; and
* Building data systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

To help meet these challenges, the U.S. Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan 2010, which includes technology-related recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders to use in helping to achieve these reforms. In an effort to learn from the experiences of other countries, particularly counties with high-performing education systems, the Department of Education funded this study, International Experiences with Technology in Education (IETE).
The IETE project focused on primary and secondary level education and was conducted in two phases in 2009-10. During the first phase, researchers conducted literature and Internet searches for multi-national data collections. The purpose of the searches was to identify methods, instruments, and available data on key government efforts to integrate information and communications technologies (ICTs) into teaching and learning. In the second phase of the IETE project, available data were updated and extended through a survey and interview of representatives of 21 governments (Exhibit E-1)."

Information policies in Asia: development of indicators

Title: Information policies in Asia: development of indicators
Author: Kavita Karan
Pages: 123 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-9223-362-4
e-ISBN: 978-92-9223-363-1
Source: UNESCO Bangkok Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
Publisher: UNESCO
Date (published): 26/07/2011
Date (accessed): 29/08/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The scope of information policy is broad. For the purposes of this report, information policy can be defined as the collection of policies and strategies that are designed to promote the development of a better-managed information society. These policies include, but extend beyond, those that are concerned with processes, management, promotion and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The need for building a knowledge-based society requires significant contributions from its stakeholders – governments, communities, businesses, civil society and international organizations among others. The role of policy makers is critical because it involves an ability to assess the demands of the stakeholders objectively, equitably and cost-effectively, and, above all, create systems of governance that ensure stability, predictability, rule of law, and fair competition that open up avenues for investments from the private sector and international organizations.
Across the Asia-Pacific region there has been a steady development in the information policiesthatsupporttheinformationsector.Thissectorisexpectedtogrow–incrementally in those countries that have been early starters, and exponentially among those who started later – if policies keep abreast of needs. As such, government initiatives are seen in the establishment of information/ICT ministries at the apex level and/or departments in others. In most of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the acquisition of technology, creation of infrastructure and improving the quality of human resources are significant engagements, but a lot has yet to be achieved. Lesser-developed countries like Bhutan, Lao PDR, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tajikistan, among others, appear to be putting together blueprints for the development of information sectors.
It may be noted that despite low levels of socio-economic development and grappling with problems of widespread poverty, social unrest, political instability and economic distress, there appears to be a desire to build and expand information systems/networks in a majority of countries through concerted government policies, infrastructure development and international support.
This report focuses on assessing country information policies on seven broad dimensions in the context of achieving the goals of information-based societies. These cover (a) overall national policies; (b) telecommunications infrastructure and networks; (c) the content and delivery of information; (d) the information industries in the public and private sectors; (e) legal and regulatory frameworks; and (f ) the skills and competencies of human resources – providers and consumers.
The report is divided into two parts where Part I covers three sections. In the first section contains the objectives and methodology of the data; the second focuses on indicators contributing to information policies across seven dimensions; and the third section concludes the report. The report provides an organizing framework that can be adapted to the needs of information policy initiatives in any given national context. The significance and results of such an analysis provide a blueprint for state interventions to promote an information-rich environment, the efficient running of government and other development projects of the country. Part II is on implementing the indicators and some examples of measurement including a questionaire for household access to information given."

South Africa mobile Internet usage soars to 39%

Title: South Africa mobile Internet usage soars to 39%
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 10/08/2011
Date (accessed): 10/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"The Mobility 2011 research project, conducted by World Wide Worx and backed by First National Bank (FNB), reveals that 39% of urban South Africans and 27% of rural users are now browsing the Internet on their phones.
The study excludes “deep rural” users, and represents around 20-million South Africans aged 16 and above. This means that at least 6-million South Africans now have Internet access on their phones.
The most dramatic shift of all, however, is the arrival of e-mail in the rural user-base and its growth among urban users. There has been a substantial shift among the latter, with urban use rising from 10% in 2009 to 27% at the end of 2010. While the percentage growth among rural users is lower, the fact that it was almost non-existent a year before means the 12% penetration reported for 2010 indicates mobile e-mail becoming a mainstream tool across the population."

The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2011

Title: The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2011
Author Editor:
Pages: pp.
ISBN: 978-0-8213-8248-6
e-ISBN: 978-0-8213-8447-3
Publisher: World Bank
Date (published): 22/06/2011
Date (accessed): 09/08/2011
Type of information: book
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The impacts of information and communication technologies cross all sectors. Research shows that investment in information and communication technologies is associated with such economic benefits as higher productivity, lower costs, new economic opportunities, job creation, innovation, and increased trade and exports. Information and communication technologies also help provide better services in health and education and strengthen social cohesion.

The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2011 charts the progress of this revolution for 213 countries around the world. It provides comparable statistics on the sector for 2000 and 2009 across a range of indicators, enabling readers to readily compare countries.

This book includes indicators covering the economic and social context, the structure of the information and communication technology sector, sector efficiency and capacity, and sector performance related to access, usage, quality, affordability, trade, and applications. The Glossary contains definitions of the terms used in the tables."

Top Ten Opera Mini users in Africa

Title: Top Ten Opera Mini users in Africa
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 31/07/2011
Date (accessed): 01/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"The “State of the Mobile Web Report” by web browser company Opera Software puts a spotlight on the African region. Here are the top trends in Africa for mobile handsets and usage of the Opera Mini mobile web browser, which is used by 72% of all mobile web users in Africa.

The top 10 countries using the Opera Mini browser in this region are Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia and Morocco.
Some numbers: From June 2010 to June 2011, page views in the top 10 countries of Africa increased by 187%, unique users increased by 184% and data transferred increased by 199%.
Growth rates in Africa: Zimbabwe and Morocco lead the top 10 countries of the region in terms of page-view growth (4964.8 % and 1598.4 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe and Ethiopia lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of unique users (4483.3 % and 989.5 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe and Morocco lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of data transferred (3449.7 % and 1385.9 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe leads the top 10 countries of the region in page views per user, with each user browsing 713 pages on average each month.
Among the countries of Africa, the most popular sites include Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo and Wikipedia."

Syndicate content