Impact of ICT on social and economic development
ICT is an enabler of change, an essential element of new developments, and a major contributor to
globalization woven into the fabric of daily life. Its impact is extensive, affecting individuals, businesses, industry
sectors, communities and governments. It changes the way daily activities are accomplished and processes are
executed and in doing so it also impacts social and economic development of countries and
The spread of ICT promoted the development of information society, where economic success and
social development became more dependent on the availability and accessibility of information and technology.
Furthermore, ICT altered fundamental methodologies of doing activities and gave rise to e-services in
communication, trade, employment, education, government, and health.
Recently we witnessed the increase of social media and mobile devices usage as they facilitate the
interaction between citizens and their participation in decision-making processes. Today with the rise of
knowledge societies and knowledge-based economies, the focus falls on value-added products and processes,
placing more demands on ICT development, industry and government.
Despite the importance of the subject “the impact of ICT on the development”, studies both at global
and regional levels in this area are still in the early stages. Therefore, ESCWA focused in recent years on this
topic to support its member countries in formulating ICT strategies and programmes with positive impact on
social and economic development. To that end, ESCWA prepared three studies related to the use and impact of
ICT on social and economic development, organized an expert
group meeting during which experts from the Arab region discussed the various aspects of ICT use and
impact, and organized a capacity building workshop on the measurement of use and impact
of ICT development.