Developing countries to use Internet to leapfrog economic development

Published November 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Internet usage in developing nations will boom in the next few years as they use the medium to leapfrog the economic divide with developed countries, leading US technology guru Nicholas Negroponte predicted Monday. 

 

He said culture, including the willingness to take risks and explore creativity, will be a "stronger force than infrastructure" in countries trying to take advantage of the Internet revolution. 

 

"I think what we're going to see is an absolute boom (in developing Asia)," said Negroponte, founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's media laboratory. 

 

Information technology was a "means for developing nations to leapfrog some of the steps that were taken in developing countries," he told a news conference. 

 

Negroponte was in Singapore to address a conference organised by research house Strategic Intelligence. 

 

He cited the case of a Filipino computer student who brought the Internet to a halt earlier this year with the so-called "iloveyou" virus, saying this showed an enormous potential for regional talent if it was put to good use. 

 

"It illustrates there are pockets of expertise in places you would never expect," he said. 

"Two or three years ago, you would have expected that to be a hacker at some technical university in the United States and what we're seeing (shows that it) doesn't require the same sort of enormous economy behind it." 

 

Education ministers from developing countries are likely to be much bolder than their counterparts from the developed world in taking steps to reduce poverty and illiteracy at a faster pace through the Internet, he said.— (AFP)  

 

© Agence France Presse 2000  

© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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