Added: (Thu May 03 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Developing countries should move beyond assessing whether they are ready to implement IT and e-commerce and take action to achieve IT integration, reads a report published by bridges.org.

This South African-based NGO helps people in emerging countries overcome practical and policy obstacles so people can put technology to work to improve their lives. A good place to start is to measure a country or economy’s readiness for IT and e-commerce in order to provide a baseline that can be used for regional comparison, as well as national and international planning.

Bridges.org recently completed a survey looking at the aims of “e-readiness assessments,” where they have been carried, and by whom. By publishing this report, bridges.org hopes to eliminate duplication, facilitate the better use of scarce resources, and help decision-makers to move beyond assessment to planned action.

Bridges.org warns that a large amount of money is being spent in the developing world to conduct these assessments. A total of 84 countries have already been assessed and currently at least five more initiatives are underway to conduct further e-readiness assessments, including those driven by the United Nations Development Programme, the International Telecommunications Union, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and national donor agencies.

A significant amount of duplication has already occurred. Sixteen countries have been assessed for e-readiness at least five times by different organisations, while many of the poorest countries, which have the most to gain from the information technology revolution, have never been assessed. India topped the list, with a total of eight e-assessments, followed by Egypt and China, which both had six. South Africa benefited from four assessments; many other Southern African countries had none.

The tools for conducting these assessments also use widely varying definitions for e-readiness and different methods for measurements. Furthermore, the assessments are very diverse in their goals, strategies, and results. In addition to the problem of duplication, many of the results of these assessment surveys were not publicly available or readily accessible.

Bridges.org is building on these efforts by studying assessments that have been conducted by others, identifying the best elements of them, expanding them to look at social and other factors not linked directly to technology, and helping decision-makers implement planned action.

The reports are titled E-Readiness Assessments: Who is Doing What and Where (http://www.bridges.org/ereadiness/where.html) and Comparison of E-Readiness Assessment Models (http://www.bridges.org/ereadiness/comparison.html).

For further information, see bridges.org’s web-site at www.bridges.org.

Contact person:

Teresa Peters
Executive Director
Tel: +27 21 970 1304

Bridges.org offices:

South Africa
Tel: +27 21 970 1302
Fax: +27 21 970 1303
Mailing address: PO Box 4163, Durbanville 7551

United States
Tel: +1 202 776 0120
Fax: +1 202 776 0110
Mailing address: 2000 P Street, NW, Suite 240, Washington DC 20036

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