For the last 15 years, PPIAF has provided technical assistance to developing countries in support of regulatory and policy reforms; regulators; universal access to information infrastructure by mobilizing and leveraging private sector investments; ICT applications to enhance public administration and private sector development and shared infrastructure.
Information and telecommunication technologies (ICT) and their applications have significant economic impacts on growth and development. In some developing countries, ICT is contributing to revolutionary changes in business and life.
By increasing the availability and use of ICT, the sector has contributed to an increase in the productivity of firms through efficiency gains, access to information, and the reduction of transaction costs; it has also contributed to an increase in labor productivity and enhanced market efficiencies. ICT can also improve the efficiency of government services and service delivery to the public, like in health and education.
Over the past decade, developing countries have seen rapid but uneven growth in ICT access and use. The unprecedented spread of mobile technologies, driven by private sector investment and supported by reforms to promote competition, enabled the growth of phone services for the underserved and poor to previously unseen levels.
The business environment for mobile communication has been favored by the positive interactions among policy and regulation, technology, and market factors. Policymakers and regulators generally allocated the spectrum resources, licensed new operators to introduce competition, ensured workable interconnection arrangements, and took other steps to facilitate market development.
Internet growth has been steady in developing countries, but the digital divide will persist until more people have access beyond mobile connectivity. Basic connectivity is essential to determining the potential for development of all services. Challenges related to access to high-speed internet include the cost of broadband access and devices, availability of wireless broadband, and availability of high-capacity transmission backbones.