United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released a Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Economy to serve as a reference for national statistical offices and other producers of official statistics on business use of information and communications technology (ICT)...
Compiling ICT statistics with UNCTAD’s manualUnited Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released a Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Economy to serve as a reference for national statistical offices and other producers of official statistics on business use of information and communications technology (ICT).
The manual provides a guide to data collection and analysis, international standards, and definitions. It also offers model questions for surveys on ICT use, and it reviews important institutional issues related to compiling ICT statistics.
The Manual, UNCTAD’s first on the subject, is a practical tool and will form the basis of future UNCTAD training courses and other technical assistance on ICT statistics.
Paul Cheung, Director of the United Nations Statistical Division, notes in the Manual´s preface that information on access to, use, and impact of ICTs "is particularly important for the developing countries, many of which are just starting their statistical work on the information society. At the international level, comparable ICT indicators are critical for cross-country comparisons of ICT development and for monitoring the global digital divide."
The Manual focuses on statistical issues particular to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and provides useful advice on how to tackle statistical challenges. It also contributes to the wider international work of the UNCTAD XII Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
The Partnership aims at improving the availability of ICT statistics, focusing on established core indicators on the use of ICT by businesses, the ICT-producing sector, and ICT-related trade.
The UN Statistical Commission at its 38th session (New York, March 2007) endorsed the core list of indicators and encouraged countries to use them as a basis for ICT measurement.
ICT measurement, and thus the Manual, are at the center of UNCTAD’s mandate to help developing countries put in place policies that effectively employ ICT to improve national competitiveness in international trade.
UNCTAD has been working on ICT measurement since 2003. Its efforts include not only awareness-raising, but also the collection and analysis of original data. In addition, it conducts research and provides advice and training to countries that wish to produce information economy statistics for policy analysis.
UNCTAD’s work contributes to the follow up called for by the World Summit on the Information Society. The summit urged the development of indicators to measure the digital divide and recommended strengthening the statistical capacities of developing countries.
UNCTAD has shared the Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Economy with national statistical offices worldwide.