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Information Economy Report 2017

Digitalization, Trade and Development

image of Information Economy Report 2017

The Information Economy Report 2017 analyzes the evolving digital economy and its implications for trade and development. While these are still early days of the digital economy, it is already clear that it will have globally transformative impacts on the way we live, work and develop our economies. As the world strives to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, harnessing the power of information and communications technologies (ICTs) is essential. Large parts of the developing world remain disconnected from the Internet, and many people lack access to high-speed broadband connectivity. Policymaking at the national and international levels needs to mitigate the risk that digitalization could widen existing divides and create new gaps. Since increased reliance on digital technologies, such as cloud computing, three-dimensional printing, big data and “the Internet of things”, it is essential to start assessing opportunities and pitfalls alike, and to prepare for what is coming. The analysis contained in the report contributes to this process and proposes ways in which the international community can reduce inequality, enable the benefits of digitalization to reach all people and ensure that no one is left behind by the evolving digital economy.

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Overview

The world is on the cusp of a new digital era. With dramatically reduced costs of collecting, storing and processing data, and greatly enhanced computing power, digitalization is transforming economic activities around the world. It is expected to affect value chains, skill requirements, production and trade, and will require adaptations of existing legal and regulatory frameworks in various areas. This has major implications for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, presenting significant opportunities, but also challenges, for developing countries. The Information Economy Report 2017 examines the evolution of the digital economy and its potential consequences for trade and development. Although the speed of digital transformation differs among countries, all of them will need to adapt policies in several areas.

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