The emergence of the information age has brought to the fore, the important role that information, knowledge and technology can play in facilitating socio-economic development. The effective use of information and knowledge is becoming the most critical factor for rapid economic growth and wealth creation, and for improving socio-economic well-being in most developed and developing countries throughout the world.
There is no doubt that information; knowledge and technology are increasingly becoming the key drivers for socio-economic development world-wide. A nation’s capability to accelerate its socio-economic development process and gain global competitiveness and improve the well-being of its people depends very much on the extent to which it can develop, use, exploit and sell, ---- information, knowledge and technology in one form or another.
There is now mounting evidence that: information and communications technologies (ICTs) can be used to facilitate various aspects of the socio-economic development process in both developing and developed countries. For example, research work based on a number of case studies suggests that ICTs can serve as a key resource essential for achieving broad-based development goals – the principal lesson being that although the technology is not a goal in itself, it can be used as an enabler of broad- based developmental goals of a given nation.
Evidence now points to the fact that, some of the areas where the deployment and utilization of ICTs can have a significant impact on the developmental process of nations include:
Development of the private sector especially the services sector: – The private sector, -- the engine of growth in most countries, can be facilitated by the deployment and exploitation of ICTs in a number of areas. The services sector especially, the banking and financial services sub-sectors are to a large extent ICT-driven in most developed and developing countries. Also the rapid growth in the ICT sector and industry in a number of developed and developing countries is having a major impact on the development of the private sector in these countries.
Production Activities and Operations: --- There is no industrial process which cannot be programmed using computers. ICTs can be used to support the: scheduling of various production processes; design of products, simulating products under various conditions; actual production process using computer- aided and programmable machines & robot systems; the warehousing, distribution and delivery of the products etc. ICTs have been successfully deployed and exploited to improve productivity in all types of industrial and production set-ups and has contributed immensely to enabling a number of industrial countries to gain competitive advantage in ranges of product areas on the global market.