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NEWS UPDATES 1 July 2009

Philippines scores 5 in WB’s IT performance report

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The Philippines lags behind its Asian counterparts in terms of global information and technology performance due to higher tariffs and poor access, reported the Manila Times, quoting a World Bank report.

In its report titled, Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reachand Increasing Impacts, the Washington-based lender said the Philippines scored 5 in three indicators such as access to information and communication technology (ICT), affordability of ICT and adoption of ICT application in government.

The World Bank said 150 developing and developed economies with a population greater than one million are included in the calculation of the country ICT performance measures, based on internationally recognized indicators for measuring ICT.

Economies are scored on a scale from 1 to 10 based on the aggregate percentile values, with 10 given to the highest performance decile and 1 to the lowest decile.

The Philippines’ score was lower compared with Thailand, with a score of seven in three indicators while Vietnam, scored 6 for access to ICT, 4 in affordability of ICT and 5 for adoption of ICT application in government.

Malaysia, garnered a score of 8, 8, and 9 in terms of access, affordability and adoption while Singapore garnered 10, 10 and 9, respectively.

The Philippines’ score, however, was better compared with Indonesia, which got a score of 4 in access to ICT, 5 in affordability of ICT and 4 in adoption of ICT application in government.

The country’s telecom revenue per gross domestic product rose to 4.4 percent in 2007 from 2.9 percent in 2000.

The Philippines’ telephone lines per 100 people in 2007 went up to 4.5 from 4 in 2000, while mobile phone per 100 people rose significantly to 58.9 from 8.5.

In addition, Internet subscribers per 100 people improved to 2.8 from 0.5, personal computers from 1.9 to 7.3 and households with a television set, 53 to 63.

The World Bank said the challenge for developing countries is to strike a balance between affordability of ICT services to the users and sustainability of sector growth.

“It is important to note that the affordability measure takes into account both the prices of ICT services and the income levels to reflect the financial ability to pay on the demand side,” the bank said.

The World Bank added that countries with relatively less low per capita income and relatively high tariffs—and therefore lower affordability—tend to have a bigger access gap beyond what a competitive market can deliver, which might require more public interventions.

 “Governments and businesses are increasingly exploring the potential of high-speed networks to improve internal communications, increase the efficiency of transactions and deliver better services to customers,” the lender said.

“Although most economies have established some basic level of e-government, in many developing economies, this is still often limited to a Web site displaying information. A growing number of countries also have some form of e-commerce, but a rudimentary stage,” it added.

The World Bank report found that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points.

“It also identifies the mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world,” the World Bank said.

Mohsen Khalil, World Bank Group Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies, said Internet users in developing countries increased tenfold from 2000 to 2007 and there are now over four billion mobile phone subscribers in developing countries.

“These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers,” Khalil said.


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