WB presents “Reaping Digital Dividends: Leveraging the Internet for Development in Europe an Central Asia” Report in Iasi: To capitalise cyber era, Europe should go beyond mere Internet access

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The European Union countries must enforce policies meant to better advocate the workers who need to adjust to the new jobs created with the Internet support, if they wish to avoid an increase of the inequality and exclusion degree in the region, reads a Report by the World Bank presented on Thursday in northeastern city of Iasi, by the bank’s experts .

We have chosen Romania, considering it would be an extraordinary opportunity to recognise the country’s values, and the opportunities it would bring to Romania. We have chosen Iasi because here exists not only a very good school of electronics, telecommunications, computer science, but also a very important IT cluster. We have found it fair to come exactly to the people who are deeply involved with developing the IT&C in Romania, and have this opening, not global this time, but at Romania’s level, in this city,” said Senior Private Sector Specialist with the World Bank, Arabela Aprahamian.

According to the Report titled “Reaping Digital Dividends: Leveraging the Internet for Development in Europe an Central Asia,” presented on Thursday in Iasi, in partnership with the EURONEST Intercommunity Development Association, the cheap and almost universal Internet access was not enough for the EU countries to entirely benefit from the opportunities created through the digital technologies. As the WB officials say, many more efforts have to be completed to have developed an environment of policies that could capitalise the Internet access and create links between the workers and the digital jobs.

“We find clearly that the simple Internet access cannot just turn into economic benefits,” specified the Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia within the World Bank, Hans Timmer.

In Romania, says the report, less than 10 percent of the commercial companies are using the cloud facilities, and the hinders in the path of the entrepreneurship in services hampers the digital technologies’ endorsement. Moreover, only 5 percent of Romania is using the Internet to download official documents from the public websites, which offers the possibility of big efficiency gains by endorsing the new technologies.

The report also mentions that the Romanians could gain from capitalising the Internet. Only 20 percent of Romania’s unemployed use the Internet currently to find themselves a job. For those who have a job at the moment, almost none works at home, as compared to 10 percent of the countries in northern and western Europe.

The report presented in Iasi also finds that there are inequalities at the EU level that might be exacerbated, because there is scarce chance for the unskilled workers to use the Internet in order to find a job or participate in a professional network, as compared to the skilled workers.

Although new, unprecedented opportunities occur on the Internet, there is also the possibility of furthering exclusion, especially for the unskilled workers, said Senior Economist for Europe and Central Asia with the World Bank, and main author of the Report, Hernan Winkler (photo).