Information Economy Report 2011

ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development

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One of the few monitoring global trends related to information and communication technologies (ICTs) from a development perspective, this publication is a valuable reference for policymakers in developing countries. Special attention is given to ICTs in accelerating private sector development (PSD) in developing countries. Many national and donor strategies related to PSD fail to take adequate account of the ICT potential, which has greatly expanded thanks to changes in the global ICT landscape. Different facets of the ICT-PSD interface are explored, including: ICT infrastructure as a factor in the investment climate; ICT use by the private sector; the ICT sector as a part of the private sector, and finally, ICT use in interventions aimed at facilitating PSD.



Leveraging ICTs to support women’s entrepreneurship

Exploring how ICTs can be used to support women entrepreneurs is important for several reasons. Firstly, women’s entrepreneurship represents untapped potential for PSD. While women-owned MSEs have been found to be less profitable than MSEs owned by men (Alturki and Braswell, 2010; GTZ, 2010; IFC, 2007b; IFC, 2010; Il avaras an and Levy, 2010; ILO, 2008b), this gender-based difference seems to disappear for larger ventures. In fact, some evidence suggests that among medium-sized and large enterprises, those owned by women are equally or more productive than those owned by men (GTZ, 2010).This makes it important to identify and address possible barriers constraining the growth and upgrading of women-owned MSEs. Secondly, a number of key barriers to growth are specific, or particularly constraining, to women entrepreneurs. As will be shown in this chapter, ICTs can be used to help overcome some of these. Thirdly, ICTs have, so far, seldom been used systematically to make initiatives aimed at supporting women’s entrepreneurship more effective. Against this background, this chapter discusses how ICTs can be used to address the above-mentioned barriers. It provides recommendations to stake holders interested in using ICTs to support women-owned MSEs more effectively, and explores relevant initiatives.


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