Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Microsoft Corp. have forged a partnership so as to enable countries in the Asia Pacific region to benefit from new opportunities created by Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), for ensuring sustainable economic growth in the region.
There are concerns in the Asia and Pacific region over the growing 'digital divide'. Numerous studies in the past from the World Summit on Information Societies and the multi-stakeholder Global Alliance for ICT for Development (GAID) have shown that economic performance hinges much on ICT, as it provides developing nations with a wide range of opportunities to meet vital development goals, including poverty reduction, bridging the digital divide and developing content for e-services. Through the partnership, ADB and Microsoft will jointly undertake projects, studies and capacity building initiatives in five strategic areas of common interest, including innovation, ICT and governance, ICT and education, enabling jobs and opportunity, and regional integration and trade. Based on ADB's policy paper Toward E-development in Asia and the Pacific: A Strategic Approach for ICT, three strategic thrusts were proposed, including the creation of an enabling environment by fostering the development of innovative sector policies, the strengthening of public institutions and promoting the development of ICT facilities and related infrastructure networks, building human resources, and developing ICT applications and information contents.