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[liberationtech] UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2012: The Software Industry and Developing Countries

Fouad Bajwa fouadbajwa at
Thu Dec 6 15:35:24 PST 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to share with you for information purposes only UNCTAD's
latest Information Economy Report 2012: The Software Industry and
Developing Countries with source:

Official Website:

Web Flyer:

Download Full Report:
Information Economy Report 2012 (UNCTAD/IER/2012)
28 Nov 2012, 142 page(s), 2600.4 KB

Information Economy Report 2012 (Overview) (UNCTAD/IER/2012 (Overview))
28 Nov 2012, 740.4 KB
For more languages:


The Information Economy Report 2012: The Software Industry and
Developing Countries is the seventh in the flagship series published
by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In the 2012 edition, special attention is given to the role of
software capabilities in accelerating progress towards a more
inclusive information society.

Key issues covered include:

- The link between software capabilities and development
- Global and regional trends in production, spending, trade,
investment, venture capital and employment in the software sector
- The evolving ICT landscape and its impact on software production patterns
- Trends and implications related to free and open source software (FOSS)
- An analysis of the market orientation of software production in
developing countries
- Country case studies
- Policy recommendations on how governments and their development
partners can better leverage software for development and strengthen
national software systems

The Information Economy Report 2012 finds that, because software is
increasingly permeating societies at all levels of development and
activity, it is becoming more important for countries to develop the
technological capabilities needed to adopt and adapt existing software
solutions, and eventually to innovate. Software and service activities
represent an opportunity for developing countries, thanks to the low
capital entry requirements, the sector's high-value, high-growth
nature and knowledge-rich profile. Due to changes in the ICT
landscape, even small-scale developers in developing countries can now
participate in software development and production, for example in the
area of mobile applications. The Report suggests that there is
considerable room for developing countries to make better use of the
software potential.

The Report introduces the concept of the national software system. It
emphasizes that domestic software producers and users are greatly
influenced by the quality and affordability of ICT infrastructure,
access to relevant human resources and capital, the legal framework,
an enabling business infrastructure, as well as by the links with
software networks in the rest of the world.

Governments play a central role in the national software system.
Overall, the competitiveness of the system is affected by the national
vision, strategy and government policies which should nurture software
capabilities and the system as a whole. In particular, Governments are
important users of software (notably through e-government and public
procurement activities) and they strongly influence most of the
enabling factors of the system.

The Information Economy Report 2012 offers several policy
recommendations to governments, such as:

- To take active part in fostering their national software systems.
- To tailor software development strategies to their specific
contexts, based on consultations and partnerships with relevant
- To integrate software strategies into broader development plans
- To strike a balance between domestic and export market promotion
related to software
- To adapt education and training schemes to the new ICT landscape
- To encourage technological upgrading in enterprises, and adoption of
relevant international standards and certifications
- To facilitate the strengthening of developer communities
- To give adequate attention to FOSS, especially in public procurement
- To seek the support of development partners in training, application
development, support to the strengthening of legal and regulatory
frameworks, supporting IT/software associations and clusters, meetings
of developers, software SME development and more
- To leverage South-South cooperation where appropriate

The Information Economy Report 2012 explores various examples of
software development initiatives by individual countries and groups of

Among the cases cited are:

- Software trends in the BRIC countries
- Nigeria's new software strategy
- The emerging Android ecosystem in Sri Lanka
- The Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software Programme
- The eGovFrame platform of the Republic of Korea
- Software for sustainable development in Lao PDR
- The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa
- A global UNCTAD/WITSA survey of national IT/Software Associations
- Locally developed software to improve farmers' access to information
in Bangladesh
- Software promotion in Argentina
- In the Statistical Annex of the Report, UNCTAD presents among other
things international data on software spending, exports and

Fouad Bajwa
ICT4D and Internet Governance Advisor
My Blog: Internet's Governance:
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