Global governments shape e-economy

"Risk E-Business: Seizing the Opportunity of Global E-Readiness"

Putting money into education has built an IT-savvy work force in Costa Rica

and Hungary. Loosening government restrictions on the telecom industry has

enabled South Korea to move ahead in wired and wireless communications.

These actions were important for those nations' economies — and the

world economy, according to a new report from an international policy and

technology consulting firm.

"From the U.S. point of view, the report portrays both risks and opportunities — risks if these countries don't get their policies and practices in order,

and opportunities to help them do so," said Bruce McConnell, head of the

Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, McConnell International LLC.

McConnell's findings are part of a report released Aug. 23 called "Risk

E-Business: Seizing the Opportunity of Global E-Readiness." The report was

about three months in the making. He selected the countries based on their

place in the world markets and the fact that they have some IT infrastructure.

"These are the big markets and countries that can move forward relatively

quickly because they've already gotten started," he said. But he was surprised

to find "as many countries needing as much improvement as they do," he added.

The report focused on what McConnell called "e-readiness" — five strengths

required for an economy to function in an IT world:

1. Connectivity: Are IT networks in the country affordable to access

and use?

2. E-leadership: Has government made e-readiness a national priority?

3. Information security: Can users trust the processing and storage

of networked information?

4. Human capital: Is the work force being trained to build and support

e-business and an IT society?

5. E-business climate: How easy is it to conduct e-business in a country?

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