ICTs can help the poor, says OAS official

WASHINGTON DC, United States, April 23, 2008 – The Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) has called on policy makers, providers and experts to put greater emphasis on applying innovation in information and communication technologies (ICTs) to address the needs of the poorest in society.

Ambassador Albert Ramdin was speaking to participants at the one-day forum on “Enabling in ICT Business Environment in the Americas Region” a joint initiative of the OAS Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

He said that a “genuine partnership” of organisations such as the OAS and the ITU, governments and the private sector is the only way to bridge the digital divide to bring improved connectivity to unconnected areas.

The OAS official also called for mechanisms to build, in developing countries, “a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector”, so as to stimulate the creation of local producers of ICT applications and services.

Ambassador Ramdin noted that new technology and market globalisation are rapidly increasing productivity and warned that “as productivity rises, so does the opportunity cost of leaving millions of young people unemployed”.