The importance of information technology as a tool for socio-economic development needs to be fully embraced by developing countries. ICTs usher in changes not often accepted readily by traditional societies.
Information disseminating should be carried out by the Governments to increase the level of awareness regarding the benefits of ICTs. Campaigns targeted at making the local population realize the importance and advantages of becoming a part of the Information Society are needed.
The foremost responsibility of the government in ensuring that all its citizens have an equal access to ICTs is to have a coherent and strategic policy geared towards the propagation of ICTs. Preparing, creating and managing a policy and program of access and inclusion require a visionary and committedleadership. To ensure an equitable development of all the regions, a coordinated policy is required at the national, regional and local level.
Governments, especially in the developing world need to realize the importance of ICTs as the engine of economic and social growth. In this context, infrastructure needs to be strengthened to increase both the level and cost of connectivity that in some countries is prohibitively expensive.
Governments can play the role of a catalyst in generating ICT demand in their country by creating an enabling environment for the growth of ICTs. They should invest in research & development to encourage the production of low cost ICTs to enable the vast majority of people to have access.
Promoting literacy and education and technical skills should receive the highest priority.
To promote equitable development, special attention needs to be given to capacity building at both the donor and the recipient level. Human resource development is a key here. Computer literacy should be promoted by setting up national computer training programs providing free or subsidized training in IT skills.
Skill training is an essential tool to encourage users. In this context, instructions should be kept simple keeping in mind the literacy level of the user and step-by-step guidance should be provided at the access points to facilitate the users.
For promoting access to the marginalized communities like PWD (people w. disabilitues) and women in developing countries, the government can benefit from forging Public Private Partnerships. These partnerships not only increase the resource pool of talent but also initiate knowledge transfer and are cost effective. To bring in the rural and far-flung areas into the fold of the ICTs and take computer literacy to the grass root level building partnerships with the NGOs can prove to be an extremely useful exercise.
To bridge the access-divide in gender, the governments need to design gender sensitive policies. Promoting women's and girls' education should deserve special attention. The number of women in the higher levels of decision making at the national level should be increased to ensure that new ICT policies being designed are not gender blind.
There is a need to invest in the development of appropriate on-line content and services, which would include supporting local communities for the development of on-line services and networks, in particular in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, less-favored rural and peripheral areas. Content indigenization should be encouraged. The government needs to formulate a well thought out and coherent strategy to promote content development according to the local culture and values.
Governments need to devise new strategies to increase the accessibility of people with disabilities to ICTs. New laws also need to be formulated to protect the rights and interests of PWD and ensure that they do not loose out by the changes being brought about by the ICT revolution.
Creating opportunities for connecting rural communities to the global information and communication network is important. For the propagation of ICTs in the far-flung and rural areas, a coherent policy is needed to accommodate their specific needs including expansion of infrastructure and promoting awareness regarding the benefits of ICTs. ICTs are the means to achieve an end. To encourage their use in communities and areas not familiar with technology, the Internet and other new communication technologies should not be presented as a technological gimmick or marvel but as a something that is useful in day-to day life.