How developing countries can get ahead

From Pathways for Prosperity Commission:

Digital technologies are transforming the world, and nowhere are the stakes higher than in developing countries. With new digital technologies come opportunities for low- and middle-income countries to build new industries, deliver better services, improve markets, and, most importantly, enhance peoples’ lives. But the news is not all good. Digital technologies can also entrench exclusion, create new ways for the powerful to abuse the weak, and disrupt – or render obsolete – peoples’ livelihoods and jobs. The Pathways for Prosperity Commission has been on a two-year mission to investigate how countries can best navigate this technological disruption so that everyone benefits.

Developing countries are starting from a challenging position, often grappling with some combination of low human capital, ineffective institutions, and a difficult business environment. Developing countries are also rarely digitally ready: less than a quarter of people in low-income countries have ever used the internet. But this does not mean they should be paralysed by change, or that they must resign themselves to be passive observers of this digital revolution. Quite the opposite. Now is the time for countries to take control of their technological futures – as, indeed, many are already starting to do.

The technological revolution at hand is not simply about technology or ‘digital policy’ in isolation: this transition involves optimising social, political and economic conditions for inclusive growth in the digital age. Technology alone, no matter how innovative, will not guarantee success. Development will come from deploying technologies in a conducive environment, alongside profitable business models, and with the necessary protections in place. Not every country has an existing environment in which firms, individuals and service providers can take full advantage of new digital technologies. Creating this ecosystem is often a case of getting ‘analogue’ matters right in a digital age.

The use of digital technologies will not automatically lead to the inclusion of the poor and marginalised. Throughout our consultations and research, it has been clear that a large proportion of society is being left behind by technological change. Just as trickle-down growth has failed to deliver inclusive development, so too will trickle-down digitalisation. Civil society groups are right to be concerned about the dangers of digitalisation. When policymakers and private sector decision-makers do not consciously design for inclusiveness, they create a digital world that entrenches disadvantage, rendering inclusion an afterthought, and offering opportunities only to the well-of.”

Continue reading here.

Posted by at 12:27 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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