This article attempts to gain an understanding of the current and potential impact of the Internet on the four‐fifths of the world’s population living in developing countries, two‐thirds of them poor. First, it attempts to put today’s rapid advances in information and communication technology in a broader debate about development and the role of information. Next, it explores the interaction between the Internet and key dimensions of development. Finally, it discusses some key policy implications of Internet diffusion and usage which governments of developing countries will have to address. These include an increasing role for intermediary institutions in the creation and dissemination of relevant knowledge on the Internet in order that the technology is used in a way that is compatible with local development goals.
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