Development Implications of Digital Economies
Digital Economy Policy in Developing Countries
By RUMANA BUKHT & RICHARD HEEKS
Digital economies in the global South are undershooting their potential. A new paper – “ Digital Economy Policy in Developing Countries” – reviews current constraints, and the policy objectives and measures, processes and structures necessary to enhance digital economy growth and its contribution to socio-economic development.
The digital economy – that part of economic output derived solely or primarily from digital
technologies with a business model based on digital goods or services – is of increasing
importance to developing countries. Yet digital economy reality is undershooting its
potential in these countries, due to a series of challenges. Digital infrastructure is in part
incomplete, costly and poorly-performing. The wider digital ecosystem suffers a shortfall in
human capabilities, weak financing, and poor governance. Growth in the digital economy is
exacerbating digital exclusion, inequality, adverse incorporation and other digital harms.
Alongside explaining these challenges, this paper overviews the policy objectives and
measures, and processes and structures necessary to enhance digital economy growth and
its contribution to socio-economic development.
This paper is a publication from the “Development Implications of Digital Economies (DIODE)” Strategic Research Network. It and other digital economy papers are available via: