News Brief

19 July 2011
ITC News

ITC’s new website

In March 2011, ITC launched its new website, which has consolidated existing multiple websites onto a single platform. Underpinned by a client-focused approach, the new website is the result of ITC’s strategy to improve communications. It includes previously inaccessible content and tools such as ITC’s new market analysis tool, Standards Map (see page 34). ITC is in the process of migrating existing web content across to this new platform.

For information visit www.intracen.org 


Gap widens between least developed countries and others

A recent UN report has indicated that the wealth gap between least developed countries and the rest of the world continues to widen. The UN classifies a total of 48 nations as Least Developed Countries (LDCs), with more than two thirds of them in Africa. The classification is based on several criteria, including per capita gross national income of less than US$ 905 per annum. The report suggests that basic weaknesses were the cause of the growing disparity, blaming poor education, fragile agricultural infrastructure and a limited range of exports from these countries. Since 1970, only three countries have successfully moved out of the group –Botswana, Cape Verde and the Maldives. The UN has indicated that it would like to see the number of LDCs halved by the end of 2021.


Asian ICT exports surge


Data released in February by UNCTAD suggests that in the wake of the global financial crisis, Asia’s share of information and communications technology (ICT) exports has surged to a record high. Increasingly, trade in global ICT goods is dominated by Asia, with 66.3%, of the world’s information and communications technology exports originating in mainland China and Hong Kong alone. The UNCTAD data shows that the global financial crisis prompted a shift in world trade of ICT goods with a new focus on Asia for production and distribution. UNCTAD suggests that this shift is assisted by the development of micro-enterprises in developing countries that are facilitated by the effective use of mobile telephones and other ICT goods. The rise in Asian exports is coupled with a sharp decline in ICT goods from most major exporters such as France, Germany and the United States. The USA topped the list in terms of ICT goods imports, followed by China and Hong Kong. Economies for which ICT goods represent large shares of their imports are mainly found in East and South-East Asia, which are part of global value chains related to ICT products.

Africa’s rapid technological acquisition indicates emerging industrial base

The rapid acquisition of technology in Africa is an indication that the continent has the capacity to increase its manufacturing potential, a new study by UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) suggests. The research is the first comprehensive study to track flows of investment and knowledge in developing regions. Based on increased numbers of patents, scientific publications and technology imports and exports, the report suggests that Africa has the potential to increase the production of value-added goods and services. The report also makes a number of recommendations that will help to increase ICT development, such as the implementation of programmes that assist with home Internet access and creating international agreements that foster the exchange of information from leading ICT-export countries. According to UNECA, the study indicates that the rise in industrial technology acquisition may diversify African exports from coffee, cocoa, copper, tea, diamonds and petroleum.