Measuring ICT: The Global Status of ICT Indicators

After the 2003 World Summit on Information Society in Geneva the world saw a need to make the tools for measuring and monitoring progress using ICT indicators.  The UN sent out a questionnaire that explored the “official information society” statistics to 179 developing countries, of which 86 answered completely. The results are organized in a report in the following seven sections: ICT household indicators, ICT indicators in the business sector, status of ICT indicators in Africa, status of ICT indicators in Central Asia and Central and Eastern European countries, status of ICT indicators in Western Asia, status of ICT indicators in Asia-Pacific, status of ICT indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean. The ICT household indicators section has information on the sources of information, the survey vehicles, availability of the 20 indictors, as well as the differences in social classifications for the ICT statistics. The business sector uses different methods of surveying and other information techniques to see how ICT indicators are in the business sector. While all the other sections above did not get as much as a response and further research and information is needed before more analysis.  The actual questionnaire was divided in four main parts and mainly focused on the “institutional and technical systems established” for monitoring ICT statistics, ignoring details on key metadata on the indicator level. After all the different reports were presented regionally in different formats they were standardized and made into a common framework. The report is trying to help understand the ICT situation for different regions depending on their income and GDP levels. One of the goals was to get a consensus for a universal set of core ICT indictors, make a better statistical capacity in developing nations, and make a global database for core ICT indictors. These reports help as they make it easier for one it see progress in ICT use and availability as well as make inferences on poverty. It also allows nations to see where they are lacking and how they compare to others. A universal set of core indicators would also make it easier in general to monitor and evaluate the information society (and other things) and ICT capability. For instance Africa had a low response rate with only 19 out of 52 nations answering, a total of 42% of the regional population. South Africa is shown to have a lower middle income and medium access, which is higher than many of the other African nations, but still failed to answer much of the questionnaire. This shows that South Africa and the African region need to improve on answering such questionnaires so that universal core indicators can be set and monitored. Although not fully successful the report was very factual and is a good base for future research.

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One response to “Measuring ICT: The Global Status of ICT Indicators

  • laurenparmley

    Are there incentives they could provide for more countries to answer the surveys? How do we know that these surveys are accurate and unbiased? I feel like there are issues with the idea of surveys in general and maybe a better option would be to do specific research in the field.

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