IG4D Thematic Cluster 2 Enabling Environment, Question 1 and IG4D Thematic Cluster 3 Infrastructure, Question 1
Innovation including in the area of the Internet economy plays a central role for development. A challenge many governments face, however, is to ensure that innovation is inclusive, i.e. to ensure that the benefits are shared more evenly across different societal groups and different geographical regions to improve overall social wellbeing. Concerns of widening inequalities are at the top of many governments agendas, with poverty more acute in developing countries. So far, policies to support innovation have not been sufficiently connected to debates on addressing resulting social challenges and welfare.
The Internet and related information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to play a pivotal role in helping achieving more inclusive innovation and development. The Internet economy can contribute towards inclusiveness in various ways: for example, the Internet economy can help entrepreneurs and small businesses engage in innovations by i) helping them access information at lower cost and by ii) providing a platform for new businesses opportunities (such as mobile applications). ICTs and mobile technologies in particular can improve the everyday life of people in lower income groups by providing them with information that can help increase their negotiation power on markets (e.g. giving information on sales prices of agricultural products) and by connecting them more widely to services that were previously unavailable (such as mobile banking). However, the magnitude of overall positive impacts of the Internet economy on inclusiveness is as yet unclear. Moreover, at the same time general concerns over access to the Internet economy (digital divide) and skills needed for effectively using ICT persist.
The OECD is currently undertaking a project on inclusive innovation for development which includes a specific focus on the role of the Internet and ICTs. The workshop will present the results of an analysis of the opportunities the Internet economy offers for inclusive development by increasing access, developing skills and promoting applications and their use. Participants will discuss main findings in relation to Internet governance issues and the policies that need to be put in place including best policy practices in order to achieve more inclusive innovation (e.g. infrastructure, skills and innovation policies). Expected outputs of this workshop include proposals on how different stakeholders including governments, entrepreneurs, the civil society and the Internet technical community can jointly find the most effective Internet and ICTs levers and respective policies towards inclusive development.
The discussion will be organized around the following main topics:
- The impact of the Internet and ICTs on inclusion vs. exclusion
- Initiatives in support of inclusive development
- Areas where action has to be taken: Enhancing positive effects and reducing negative impacts of the Internet and related ICTs
- Policy needs including potential needs for other complementarities
OECD together with The Internet Society (ISOC), The Business and Industry Advisory Committee
to the OECD (BIAC) and with contributions from the Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC)