Research Paper 13, August 2007

Towards a Digital Agenda for Developing Countries.

The last two decades of the 20th century saw a revolution in the nature of information and the way that it can be created, used and transmitted. Vast opportunities have been opened up. Developing countries, that have insufficient capacity to generate, disseminate and effectively utilize educational information and knowledge, may finally be in a position to accelerate their development.

Digital and internet content is the key to these opportunities. With it, the cost of producing, copying and disseminating any piece of information approaches zero, and any person with access to a computer and the internet can be as powerful a distributor of information as a major company. The major content industries have had their primacy over production and distribution channels challenged. Many developing countries have not fully analyzed the policy implications of access to, and control over, digital and internet content.

This paper analyzes the implications of digital and internet content policy for access to knowledge in developing countries and makes some initial recommendations for developing countries. By bringing together several different strands of discussions and analyses ongoing at national and international levels, it aims to provide a direction for further research and policy analysis, by laying the groundwork and creating awareness of the relevance and scope of digital and internet content for developing country policymakers.

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