Table of Contents

  • For several years now, the impact of information technology as an instrument of reform in the process of government and delivery of comparative advantage in public sector management, in the process of organisational change and the delivery of competitive advantage in private sector management, and in the process of capability development in the nurturing of civil society empowerment, have been widely acknowledged.

  • Ever since the invention of telephony, nearly 800 million telephone lines have been installed worldwide. But to date, nearly 50% of the world population has never used the telephone in their life. On the other hand, proximity has generally been remote, as the nearest telephone can be more than half-a-day's walk from one's house: making a simple phone call (supposing that it is useful) would imply at least an overnight stay.

  • We open Chapter One of Breaking the Digital Divide: Implications for Developing Countries with an introduction on the Digital Divide. In order to capture the spirit of the Net, in Chapter Two we analyse the problems of valuation of the growth, which started at the beginning of the 1980s, by considering three kinds of studies: one provided by OECD, which every year writes a report about technology; another by the number of on-line users registered by NUA in all continents; and finally, Network Wizard checks on the number of hosts in the world every six months, as reported by RIPE on Europe every month. We will compare the hosts number worldwide with the American and the European hosts in order to underscore the large development of the Internet and its usage in the industrialised countries.

  • The Internet has to date been one of the most extraordinary human creations and even may be one single most important inheritance of the 20th Century. It had never been imagined before the invention of the Internet that it would become a simple reality to communicate directly with millions of men and women at practically any location on Earth and beyond; nor was it imaginable that it would become a manifested reality to exchange information, documents, opinions with the rapidity and the kind of freedom that are typical of on-line communication.

  • The massive presence of the Internet in the Developing Countries have potentials for improving the human condition in these countries as, for example, it would make it easy to have access to basic information and it would also make the co-ordination of humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural disasters more efficient. There are two kinds of basic information that must be held into consideration when considerating benefits (real or potential) in relation to Developing Countries.

  • The most recurring question about the development of the Internet is: ‘Can the Net and the new information and communications technologies be directly applied to all the social and economic realities in the world?’. The most banal answer is in the affirmative, as the Internet can be used by everyone and in any organisational context. In reality, however, we must keep in mind the wide gaps between the small number of rich, advanced and industrialised countries, on the one hand, and the large number of poor, somewhat backward and underdeveloped countries, on the other.

  • The social or human development of a nation is a process of widening the possibilities of choice for the people that can be obtained through the widening of human capacities. At every level of development the three essential categories for the improvement of the human condition may be categorised as: Living a Long and Healthy Life, Being Educated, and having Access to the Necessary Resources for a Decent Standard of Living. The income is of course one of the main means to broaden the choices and the welfare of the people, but it is not possible for everyone to have an income sufficient to satisfy their needs, especially the primary and the vital ones.

  • During the last two decades or so the life expectancy for people living in the Developing Countries has increased, on average, from 42 to 62 years. The most rapid progress in the improvement occurred in Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and in Vietnam; while in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia the same factor has decreased to less than 50 years, primarily because of the spread of the HIV virus. The infant mortality rate in the Developing Countries has halved during the same period, passing from 149 deaths every 1000 babies born alive in 1960 to just 65 in 1996 [Undp 98].

  • Unlike social progress, the economic development of a country can be analysed by considering the growth of three main sectors of the economy: agriculture, industry and services sectors, corresponding to the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the traditional national economic development. The distribution in the three areas is different depending on the country because of various reasons.

  • The Internet is, by definition, an open Net. For this reason some of its applications, such as the development of business relationships or the organisation of private information services, gives rise to the problem of privacy in relation to transactions and data and also to the problem of control in relation to access to information and data. The issue of privacy and information access concerns not only the industrialised countries where deployment of the Net has already significantly diffused, but also to countries in the developing world where utilisation of the Internet is only formative in character and where the new information andcommunications technologies and the telecommunications infrastructure are equally at a low level of development.

  • I have always been convinced of the fact that erasing poverty from the Earth is more a matter of will-power rather than of money. Nowadays we do not pay enough attention to this problem yet, maybe because we are not directly involved by it; we keep the problem distant by saying that if the poor worked harder, they would not be poor When we want to help the poor, we give alms to them. But the only effect of charity is to perpetuate problems, while depriving the poor of the spirit of initiative.