OECD points to path for e-business growth

OECD's secretary general, Donald Johnston, has called for governments to work with the private sector to create the right infrastructure and regulatory framework for e-business to thrive in the Middle East.

  • E-Mail
By  Rob Corder Published  January 15, 2001

Four days of e-commerce discussions in Dubai involving delegates from 60 developed and developing countries began with a warning from OECD secretary general Donald Johnston of the need not just for infrastructure investment but also for appropriate governance and regulation if e-business is to flourish.

While governments can assist in building the basic technology infrastructure for e-commerce, Johnston told a Business-Government Forum organised ahead of an OECD Emerging Market Economy Forum on Electronic Commerce that takes place on 16-17 January, they cannot on their own ensure the growth of a vibrant e-commerce sector. “Governments cannot act alone,” Johnston said. “Partnerships between the public and the private sectors are called for. The challenge is how to develop such partnerships.”

“We must recognise that the policies aimed at bridging the digital divide concern not just infrastructure but legal and regulatory reforms in such areas as competition, consumer protection, intellectual property rights, and educational and other social policies,” Johnston added. “In short, what is needed is a framework or umbrella of good governance that will create the conditions needed to attract private capital.”

The OECD secretary general’s remarks set the tone for four days of meetings intended to pave the way for an improved dialogue between developed and developing countries on how to address the digital divide between nations and citizens with access to advanced information and communication technology and those without.

In parallel with the Business-Government Forum, organised by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, consumer representatives held a Public Voice Conference to air some of their concerns regarding issues such as access to the Internet, privacy and security. Representatives from developing countries, meanwhile, stressed these countries’ need for appropriate human resources development, in areas such as education and training, as well as infrastructure development.

Underlying all these participants’ remarks was a sense of urgency in tackling the regulatory, technology and infrastructure issues that e-commerce poses. “In the new digital scenario, time is of the essence,” Dr. Bruno Lamborghini, Chairman of the European Information Technology Observatory and a member of the Olivetti company’s board of directors, warned. And for companies and countries that lag behind, he add, “time is becoming shorter.”

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code