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Harnessing the digital economy for developing countries

Carl Dahlman, Sam Mealy and Martin Wermelinger
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Carl Dahlman: OECD
Sam Mealy: OECD
Martin Wermelinger: OECD

No 334, OECD Development Centre Working Papers from OECD Publishing

Abstract: This report makes a call for why the digital economy matters for developing countries and what they need to consider when developing a national digital strategy. The world is undergoing a digital revolution with significant implications for global economies and livelihoods. This revolution is predicated on the ever-increasing pace of technological innovation and diffusion. Digital technologies and their attendant applications are reshaping whole domains of human activity, and are spreading across the world faster than previous waves of technological innovation. The digital revolution is thus too important for any country to overlook. As outlined in Section II, the digital economy can be harnessed for inclusive and sustainable growth: digital technologies make life easier for citizens and consumers, raise the productivity of workers and firms, and help governments extend key services to those who need them most. However, this does not just happen randomly: governments must engage in strategic planning to maximise the development impact of digitalisation and ensure that its benefits are evenly distributed. Using the experience of leading economies in the digital space, Section III looks at some of the broad and generic enabling factors that developing countries can develop and use as foundations for their digital economies. The concluding section, Section IV, examines three key lessons developing countries can learn from other countries’ digital experiences. It provides some guiding principles around thinking about how to craft a national digital strategy that builds on top of the enablers of the digital economy.

Keywords: digitalisation; inclusive growth; policy; technology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O31 O32 O35 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ino and nep-pay
Date: 2016-12-22
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