State role on ICTs promotion in developing countries: general patterns and the Uruguayan experience

Martin Rivero Illa

Research output: Working paperAcademic


As one of the main agents of globalisation, Information and Communication
Technologies (ICTs) have been revolutionising many aspects of human life, affecting
among other things, how wealth is generated and distributed. Due to the potential role
of ICTs in generating growth, developing countries are struggling about how to
implement effective strategies to foster growth and eventually ‘leapfrog’ steps of
development. In this process, the state has, with its presence or absence, an
unquestionable role. During the last decade in Uruguay, the ICTs sector had a better
performance than any other economic sector, maintaining its dynamism despite a
severe economic recession that has affected the country since 1998. At first glance,
there has not been a coherent, well articulated state policy to promote ICTs. What is
more, some of the state initiatives on the sector were only partially implemented, or
dismantled soon after created. However, assuming that there is no state role is a deep
flaw. Based on the empirical evidence and on the analysis of the opinions of key
actors involved, the paper argues that certain pre-conditions, where the state has a key
role, made this performance possible. An early creation of high quality informatics
tertiary education, an efficient public telecommunication infrastructure, and a
regulatory framework that includes tax exemptions. Currently, further development of
the ICT sector will require a new state role. This role, also applicable to other
developing countries, has to do with increasing investment on education and R&D,
strength the telecommunications infrastructure, defining a coherent state policy as a
ICTs consumer, promoting capital risk investment, and facilitating private actors
access to foreign markets.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages63
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series


  • ISS Working Paper-General Series


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