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E-Commerce for Development: Prospects and Policy Issues

Andrea Goldstein and David O’Connor

No 164, OECD Development Centre Working Papers from OECD Publishing

Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the potential contribution of the Internet and its commercial application to the development process in poor countries. In historical perspective, the Internet has diffused at a far faster rate than earlier generations of communications technology: from 1990 to early 2000, the estimated number of Internet users grew more than tenfold to roughly 300 million, affecting the way in which people communicate with each other, acquire information, learn, do business, and interact culturally. Our particular focus is on the opportunities e-commerce offers to small-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries and the challenges they face in exploiting e-commerce’s potential.There is a risk that a “digital divide” will emerge, reinforcing existing income and wealth inequalities within and between countries. Yet, a major potential benefit of globalisation is the freer movement of technology, including information and communication technology (ICT), across borders. In ... Ce Document technique analyse la possible contribution d’Internet et de ses utilisations commerciales au développement des pays pauvres. D’un point de vue historique, Internet s’est répandu à un rythme extraordinairement plus rapide que les précédentes technologies de communication : entre 1990 et le début de 2000, le nombre estimé d’utilisateurs d’Internet a été multiplié par plus de dix, atteignant près de 300 millions, et modifiant la manière dont les gens communiquent entre eux, trouvent de l’information, apprennent, font des affaires et interagissent sur le plan culturel. Nous étudions plus particulièrement les opportunités que le commerce électronique offre aux petits entrepreneurs des pays en développement et les défis qu’ils doivent relever pour tirer parti de ce potentiel.Le risque de création d’un « fossé numérique » — qui renforcerait encore les inégalités de richesse et de revenu existantes — est bien réel. Pourtant, l’un des principaux avantages possibles de la ...

Date: 2000-09-01
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