Can you hear me now? : do those nations answering "yes" experience lower levels of poverty?
Increasingly, foreign aid distribution and the work of International Financial Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations are weaving in elements of information communication technology (ICT) development in an effort to reduce poverty and to promote economic growth. The development of successful large scale poverty reduction projects with ICT as a primary component are part of the strategy in achieving the Millennium Development goal of cutting global poverty in half by 2015. The UN Development Programme believes ICT is a viable way in which to reduce poverty through employment and support to entrepreneurship, enhance public service delivery, and achieve public sector reform and effectiveness at a national and international level. Such programs are in place in over 190 countries, yet the quantitative aggregate measuring of whether economic poverty is being alleviated as a result, is sparse. This paper finds that the penetration of computers and internet access, in particular, are not significantly related to the observed decline in economic poverty levels of low and middle income countries. These findings suggest that effective policy solutions should focus on the improvement of infrastructure and training so the benefits of ICT can be realized, in addition to the successful incorporation of ICT in delivery systems that alleviate poverty.
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