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''The Digital Divide''



In its recently released Information Economy Report 2005, the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development underscored the importance of private competition and rule of law in overcoming what has been dubbed “the digital divide” separating developed from developing countries. The Report contends that vigorous efforts are currently underway in the developing world to catch up with their more developed partners in the dissemination and use of information and communication technology in various e-business applications. However, despite encouraging signs in this direction, the Report cautions that the “gaps are still far too wide and the catching-up far too uneven for the promise of a truly global information society … to materialize without the sustained engagement of national governments, the business sector and civil society, and the tangible solidarity of the international community” (xv). What is innovative about this Report in relation to other U.N. documents is the degree to which the business sector and the voluntary associations of civil society are weighted in comparison to the regulatory apparatus of government and viewed as significant catalysts in their own right to raise real standards of living and to promote world economic development.

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