E-commerce services and digital economy - ADB
In 2003, ADB published its ICT strategy, Toward E-Development in Asia and the Pacific: A Strategic Approach for Information and Communication Technology. The Strategy’s three main goals are to: create an enabling environment through policy improvements, public institution strengthening, and relevant infrastructure provision; build human resources for ICT literacy and professional skills; and develop ICT applications and information content through ADB-supported projects and activities. This aligns with ADB’s Strategy 2020 and Enhanced Poverty Reduction Strategy (2004), which emphasize the importance of investing in a well-planned ICT infrastructure and realigns development efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as well as the national poverty reduction strategies of individual countries.
Between 2000 and 2015, ADB extended 402 ICT-related loans, grants, and technical assistance projects to the value of $11.9 billion to help develop and maintain:
- ICT infrastructure, e.g., telecommunications networks, mobile and wireless networks, broadband cable networks, data centers, last-mile internet connectivity, etc.
- ICT industries, e.g., ICT centers of excellence, research/computer laboratories, ICT-enabled industries such as business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, software parks, ICT incubators, etc.
- ICT-enabled services, e.g., ICT applications for education, finance, governance, health, etc.
- ICT policy, strategy, and capacity development, e.g., ICT policy and strategy, telecommunications policy reform, universal access and service, ICT road maps (national and local), ICT regulations and laws, ICT skills training and capacity building, etc.
ADB’s ICT operations in the Pacific focus on funding ICT infrastructure through submarine cable projects, developing regulatory capacity, and supporting applications for social services, including e-Health and e-Learning initiatives. For example, the cost of internet access in Tonga fell by 60% in 2013 after completion of the submarine cable system linking Tonga to Fiji - a component of the Pacific Regional Connectivity Project - cofinanced by ADB and the World Bank.
A $150 million loan approved in 2015 for a telecommunications project in Myanmar will narrow the country’s digital divide. The project will help meet Myanmar’s critical need for better nationwide connectivity and affordable third-generation (3G) mobile communications. It will give people more access to basic services by enabling mobile applications for banking, agriculture, and health care.
In 2015, Bai Tushum Bank in the Kyrgyz Republic received a $10 million loan from ADB’s private sector department to extend medium- and long-term financing to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Four years earlier, the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank received a loan for the same amount. It has since more than doubled its number of small and medium-sized enterprise clients and has seen its rural business grow significantly. In addition to expanding access to finance for small businesses, the banks are introducing innovative practices and developing new services that cater to the specific needs of the MSME sector.