The economic dimension

ICT has had, and will continue to have, significant economic implications. Businesses are transforming their supply and demand chains, as well as their internal organisation to fully exploit ICT. Governments are restructuring their internal functions and the way they deliver services and generally interact with citizens and businesses. People are modifying their consumption and spending patterns, as well as their behaviour. In the process, nearly every economic variable of interest is affected.

ICT has greatly contributed to the process of creative destruction, through the birth of new firms - and industries - and the death of others, with visible impacts on industrial organisational structures and obvious implications for employment. Directly and indirectly, ICT can reduce market friction and transaction costs and affect competitive positioning, with resulting implications for productivity improvement and economic growth.

The social dimension

The nature of ICT is such that its use and impacts extend well beyond the economic domain. This is so because ICTs are general purpose technologies that can be used for a broad range of everyday activities. New modes of individual behaviour have emerged, including new or modified means of personal communication and interaction. The rapid increase in use of Short Message Service (SMS) in some parts of the world represents but one such manifestation of these phenomena. The phenomenon of the so-called digital

divide, which arises from uneven access to new technology, is a very important aspect of the social dimension.

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