Supachai to Launch UNCTAD Information Economy Report in Bangkok

Developing World Leads in Production of ICT Goods; Mobile Phones Support Livelihoods of the Poor

The Information Economy Report 2007-2008 of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will be launched by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) on Monday, 4 February 2008, at 2:00 pm.

The Report finds that although most developing countries remain far behind industrialized nations in the availability and use of information and communication technology (ICT), some are emerging as major global suppliers of ICT products and services.

China is the world’s largest exporter of ICT goods, and India leads in international sales of IT services. In 2004, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest exporter of ICT goods. In 2006, its ICT exports reached a value of US $299 billion.

The Report also looks at how ICT helps improve the livelihoods of the poor, focusing on two examples: the use of mobile telephones for conducting micro-business in Africa and the creation of telecentres for the benefit of poor communities.

In Africa, there were 50 million new mobile subscribers in 2006, and in 2007 the total number of mobile subscriptions reached an estimated 200 million. This means an average of more than 20 active cell phones per 100 persons. Mobile telephony has practically replaced fixed lines in many countries.

The Report, with “Science and Technology for Development: the New Paradigm of ICT” as its theme this year, analyses the current, and potential, contribution of ICT to knowledge creation and diffusion. It provides latest figures on the global digital divide and explores the links between ICT use by enterprises, innovation and development, the role of mobile telephony, e-banking, and e-commerce legislation in developing countries.

Note to Journalists

You are cordially invited to attend the embargoed launch by Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi of the Information Economy Report 2008 on Monday, 4 February 2008 at 2:00 pm at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, Penthouse, Manneeya Centre, Ploenchit Road, Patumwan, Bangkok. The report is embargoed until 1900 GMT/1200 Bangkok, 6 February 2008.