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The Final Report concluded that, when wisely applied, ICT offer enormous opportunities to narrow social and economic inequalities and support sustainable local wealth creation, and thus help to achieve the broader development goals that the international community has set. ICT cannot of course act as a panacea for all development problems, but by dramatically improving communication and exchange of information, they can create powerful social and economic networks, which in turn provide the basis for major advances in development.
By enabling these new networks to collect and share local knowledge and information, ICT can provide new and more efficient methods of production, bring previously unattainable markets within the reach of local producers, improve the delivery of government services, and increase access to basic social goods and services. There need therefore be no trade-off between investment in ICT and the achievement of development objectives.
ICT can thus help to ignite a virtuous circle of sustainable development. But misapplied, they can result in marginalization of the poor and the unconnected. In order for their development potential to be realized, all stakeholders — governments and their citizens, business, international organizations, civil society groups and individuals — need to work together towards achieving real change. As with all other development challenges, ownership by developing countries themselves and other relevant stakeholders will be indispensable.