Home Global-ICTGlobal-ICT 2008 The information society is everyone’s responsibility

The information society is everyone’s responsibility

by david.nunes
Author's PictureIssue:Global-ICT 2008
Article no.:3
Topic:The information society is everyone’s responsibility
Author:Károly Borbély
Title:Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Organisation:Romania
PDF size:288KB

About author

Károly Borbély is the Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Romania. He has also served his country as Secretary of State and President of the National Authority for Youth. Mr Borbély was a candidate for the European Parliament elections in 2007. Mr Borbély was Chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Youth Organization in Hunedoara and the regional representative for the counties of Hunedoara, Cluj and Alba in Hungarian Society of Public Interest for Investment Promotion and Trade. Mr Borbély has also been the reader to the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, and an adviser to the Parliamentary Office of Deputy Iuliu Winkler in Hunedoara. He began his career as the Director of Regional Marketing for the counties of Alba and Hunedoara at SC Concord Media SA Arad. Mr Borbély speaks Hungarian, Romanian and English. Károly Borbély attended the Faculty of Travel Management and Business of the University Dimitrie Cantemir and received his degree from Babeş – Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. He studied for a master’s degree in Public Policy and European Integration at the National School of Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest.

Article abstract

An information society requires more than information and communication technology; it needs a society behind it. The Romanian Government is enlisting the aid of the private sector and its citizens in the effort to create an information society and build its economy. The Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has developed a number of projects and studies and worked with its citizens and private sector to this end. The exceptional economic results reflect, in part, this effort.

Full Article

Implementing an Information Society, and making access all its opportunities available, requires the cooperation of the state, the private sector and, of course, the citizens. In this context, the role of the private sector is a fundamental one. The technological support in the Information Society (equipment, software for the various applications, content, and the network infrastructure that allows the transfer of information) is provided, for the most part, by the private sector. Consequently, the private sector plays a decisive role in the implementation of new technologies, the development and fabrication of new products, the provision of new services and the creation of new jobs in the sector. The private sector is the driving force of every economy. The implementation of new technologies by the private sector translates into higher levels of competitiveness, higher living standards for the citizens and a more robust economy. In Romania’s case, the active collaboration between public and private players in the information and communications technology sectors took the form of meetings, discussions and consultations and, as well, took place in the form of the active participation of private actors in the development of a variety of projects initiated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). The first example of this cooperation was the universal service fund, created with the contributions of communications service providers. The fund finances the programme to install tele-centres in the areas where adequate telecommunication services were not available to the population. The tele-centres give people in these communities access to important telecommunications services at accessible prices, as well as complete and unrestricted access of these communities to initiatives such as e-Government. Moreover, considering the need to increase the number of end users effectively taking advantage of new technologies, MCIT organized, in partnership with national communications service providers a showroom, a centre, to showcase the latest in communications technologies. This project was created to study the level of public adaptability to – and adoption of – the many new services made possible by information and communication technologies (ICT). A report is being elaborated to detail the study results and identify the best ways to increase the usage and penetration rates of ICT equipment and services and bring the benefits to end users – to Romanian society as a whole. MCIT has started, as well, in partnership with the operators, a campaign called – Leave your mark on the net. The mission of the campaign is to spread the interest in ICTs equally at all levels of Romanian society, without discrimination or exclusion. This sort of collaboration emphasizes the advantages that the applications and instruments of the Information Society bring to all the actors involved. At the same time, it gives them the ability to define the needs of society and the market and make the appropriate decisions. The private sector participants, especially, were able to use the results to identify the advantages and financial implications of supporting projects aimed at building conditions for the growth of an information-based society in Romania. There are real, measurable, benefits to be derived from encouraging the use of ICTs; the country’s economic growth as a result of ICT usage is easily seen and measured. Romania’s economic growth in the first half of 2008, for example, is at its highest rate since 1990. The 8.8 per cent increase of its GDP is certainly attributable, at least in part, to the country’s increased use of ICTs. Moreover, Romania GDP is likely to increase by about nine per cent overall in 2008 according to estimates by the government’s National Forecast. In truth, these economic results are due in a large part to the efforts of the Romanian Government – by its ambitious tax-reforms, characterized by an unprecedented reduction of taxes. The introduction of a flat 16 per cent tax rate has attracted a significant amount of foreign investment. Despite, or because of, the reduction, tax revenues in 2007 were 62.8 per cent higher than in 2004. In the first semester of 2008 alone, they rose by 27.5 per cent. This record is, no doubt, partly due to the fact that during 2005-2008 foreign investments in Romania totalled 30 billion Euros, more than in the period 1991-2004. In the process of developing the Romanian Information Society it will be necessary to avoid duplicate effort. This requires coordinating the development processes by creating partnerships between the government, the private sector and civil society, at each and every level of the Information Society. Furthermore, in order to increase the population’s trust of and reliance upon the use of information and communication services, the private sector has to contribute to the development of the diversity and the security of the applications and networks. The implementation of the Information Society should not be understood as the sole responsibility of the Government. The private sector and citizens as well, must participate actively in the elaboration and implementation of the country’s development strategies, as well as in assuring productive feedback regarding the use of ICT resources.

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