Information and communication technologies are opening new opportunities for developing countries. Through extending the use of ICTs, the World Bank Group aims to stimulate sustainable economic growth, increase productivity, improve public services, promote transparency and good governance, enhance social inclusion, and ultimately reduce poverty. Linked to this mission are three goals aimed at:
- Accelerating the participation of developing countries in the global information economy
- Expanding the benefits of these technologies through increased competition and private investment in information infrastructure
- Fostering sustainable economic and social development through innovative technologies, with a special emphasis on the needs of the poor in developing countries.
The World Bank Group's ICT strategy is based on four pillars:
Broadening and deepening sector and institutional reform
This deals with issues around the convergence of technologies. The Bank Group provides support to telecommunication sector reform – including liberalization, privatization and the establishment of sound regulatory regimes. It encourages legislative and regulatory changes to facilitate the development of e-commerce and e-government applications. The Bank is also expanding its involvement to include such sectors as postal and distribution logistics.
Improving access to information infrastructure
The Bank Group is helping to improve access to information and communication infrastructure by promoting private investment and exploring innovative financing mechanisms to support infrastructure development in non-economic areas that would otherwise not be served by the market (as would be the case in some poor or rural areas).
Supporting human capacity to exploit ICT
The Bank Group supports human capacity to exploit ICT, both using ICT in education as a pedagogical tool, as well as building people's technical skills in ICT-related sectors.
Supporting ICT applications across a broad range of sectors
ICT applications are integrated in World Bank funded projects in education, health, finance, small business development and public sector management.