OECD: government action needed to boost development of digital economy

15 Jul 15

Governments across the globe need to improve online privacy and boost IT skills in order to help people transition to new types of digital jobs, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The economic think-tank said that all countries should have a national strategy for the digital economy in order to harness the sector to boost economic growth.

Andrew Wyckoff, the OECD’s science, technology and innovation director, said the sector had enormous potential for economic growth and wellbeing but this would only happen “if people trust it enough to fully engage”.

He added: “Things are moving very fast, with the arrival of big data analytics and the Internet of Things, and we must make sure we are ready for the impact this will have on digital privacy, security and trust as well as on skills and employment.”

Technological development will require specific infrastructure and policy decisions, ranging from broadband availability to network neutrality and cloud computing.

Although 27 of the 34 OECD countries examined had a national digital strategy, none had a national strategy on online privacy protection or is funding research in this area, as it is usually seen as a matter for law enforcement.

Of the 34 OECD countries examined, 26 countries rated building broadband infrastructure as their top priority, while 19 of the countries put digital privacy and security second and third most important.

The report also revealed that China is the leading gross exporter of ICT goods and services, but the US was the top exporter when trade is calculated in value-added terms.

Korea is the most specialised in computer, electronic and optical products, Luxembourg is strongest in telecoms, while Ireland, Sweden and the UK are more specialised in IT and other information services.

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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