Information communication technologies (ICTs) are crucial to reducing poverty, improving access to health and education services and creating new sources of income and employment for the poor. Being able to access and use ICTs has become a major factor in driving competitiveness, economic growth and social development. In the last decade, ICTs, particularly mobile phones, have also opened up new channels for the free flow of ideas and opinions, thereby promoting democracy and human rights.
The OECD and infoDev joined forces at a workshop on 10-11 September 2009 to examine some of the main challenges in reducing the discrepancies in access to ICTs and use of ICTs between developing countries.The workshop discussed best practices for more coherent and collaborative approaches in support of poverty reduction and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
There is much work to be done on improving policy coherence and there is a need to engage more actively with partner countries. Making the most of ICTs requires that they are seen as part of innovation for development, rather than just another development tool.
This publication examines access to ICTs, as a precondition to their use; broadband Internet access and governments' role in making it available; developments in mobile payments; ICT security issues; ICTs for improving environmental performance; and the relative priority of ICTs in education.
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