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Information Economy Report 2009

Trends and Outlook in Turbulent Times

image of Information Economy Report 2009

The Information Economy Report 2009: Trends and Outlook in Turbulent Times (IER 2009) is the fourth in a series published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report is one of the few publications to monitor global trends in information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they affect developing countries. It serves as a valuable reference for policymakers in those nations. It gives special attention to the impact of the global financial crisis on ICTs. The report offers a fresh assessment of the diffusion of key ICT applications between 2003 and 2008. It includes chapters on the use of ICTs in the business sector and on the impact of the financial crisis on ICT trade.

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Executive summary

Over the past few decades, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have proven to be atremendous accelerator of economic and social progress. They have opened up a previously unimaginablearray of possibilities in both developed and developing countries. The speed at which ICTs are diffusing has taken many observers by surprise. This is in no small part thanks to the mobile revolution. With morethan 4 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, one of the targets set by world leaders at the World Summiton the Information Society – that more than half of the world’s population should have ready access to ICTs – may have been reached seven years ahead of schedule. But as emphasized in the Information Economy Report 2009, there is no room for complacency. Despite positive developments towards narrowing the digital divide, there is a long unfinished agenda to address in order to create a truly inclusive information society for all.

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