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Access to personal computers

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A PC – desktop, laptop or notebook computer – is an essential tool in order to use information technology software applications. It is potentially important to boost efficiency but not for all enterprises. The PC is also an important device for accessing the Internet.
Though the Internet can be accessed from suitably equipped mobile phones, it is a different experience to do so from a PC. Furthermore, the applications on a PC are more full-fl edged than those available on a mobile handset. Knowing how to use a PC is thus an essential ICT skill, while electricity, literacy, language and content aspects are other important prerequisites for enterprises in poor regions to benefit from PCs.

In 2009, there were an estimated 1.3 billion PCs around the world. There is scant information on the stock of PCs in different countries. Most countries do not compile data on the stock of PCs, and when such data are available, they

are often unreliable. Per capita PC penetration is not among the core ICT indicators identified by the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development. However, some indicators measure the use of computers by households and enterprises (Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, 2010). Although a growing number of developing countries are reporting such information, availability remains relatively limited.

PC penetration varies widely. In developed countries, 7 out of 10 households on average had a computer in 2008. At the other end of the spectrum, many developing countries report low home PC penetration rates. In Mexico, for example, only slightly over a quarter of households had a PC in 2009, with cost the biggest barrier to ownership. In low-income countries, penetration levels are often extremely low and typically negligible in rural areas. The cost of a PC relative to income, lack of electricity, limited awareness and illiteracy all hamper PC penetration.

Reference:  Information Economy
Report 2010ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation, Information, U N I T E D N AT I O N S C O N F E R E N C E O N T R A D E A N D D E V E LO P M E N T

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