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Telecommunications
Björn Wellenius
Price: $ 22

The rapid worldwide expansion of information technology has made investment in telecommunications a critical component of economic development. This paper is an examination of the telecommunications sector and an exploration of directions that the World Bank can take in supporting the development of this sector in its projects and programs.
Information is increasingly regarded as a fundamental factor of production. Countries and firms lacking access to modern telecommunications systems cannot effectively participate in the global economy. Yet despite high social and economic returns, investments have not been sufficient to meet demand in many developing countries. And on the operational level of many telecommunications enterprises, weaknesses in organization, financial management, and procurement have led to high costs, inadequate maintenance, and limited capacity to meet growing and changing demands. Government policies are frequently found to be responsible for many of the organizational weaknesses.
The authors see progress in recent reform efforts and specifically note the importance of policy and regulatory reform. They offer a checklist to help policymakers develop forthright practices in the development of telecommunications, while recognizing that each country has specific needs.
The World Bank can support the telecommunications sector most effectively, the authors say, by helping to create the conditions that lead to more private investment, higher efficiency, and better service.

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