Global recognition of the benefits of information and communication technology (ICT) has led to more investment in and adoption of increasingly relevant ICT applications and services to aid development.
Rapid advances in ICT have created tremendous opportunities for economic and social gains toward the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A key infrastructure of knowledge-based economies, ICT has become a driving force for dynamic sectors such as electronics and software development, business process outsourcing, mobile applications, and various internet services. The growing uptake of ICT over the past decade has also contributed to more access to educational resources, better health services, improved flow of information in agriculture, and more engagement and interaction between and among governments and citizens.
A lack of resources, from funding and technology to literacy and ICT skills, is threatening to maroon many developing countries in the Asia and Pacific region on the wrong side of a growing digital divide. ADB is committed to turning this digital divide into a digital opportunity for all. The most important benefits of ICT come not just from simple connectivity or access to networks, but from using it as a powerful instrument for innovative development and economic opportunities.
ADB's ICT projects have been helping expand telecommunication and ICT infrastructure in the Pacific islands, supporting innovative e-government solutions in Central Asia and South Asia, and developing smart power grids in East and Southeast Asia.
Between 2000 and 2013, ADB supported 547 ICT-related projects and technical assistance worth $17.67 billion. To date, ADB has helped develop and maintain:
- ICT infrastructure (e.g. telecommunications networks, mobile and wireless network, broadband cable networks, data centers, last-mile internet connectivity)
- ICT industries (e.g. ICT centers of excellence, research/computer laboratories; ICT-enabled industries such as business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, software parks, ICT incubators)
- ICT-enabled services (e.g. ICT applications for governance, education, health, finance)
- ICT policy, strategy, and capacity development (e.g. ICT policy and strategy, telecommunications policy reform, universal access and service, ICT road maps [national and local], ICT regulations and laws, ICT skills training and capacity building)