Interoperability problems in the developing countries
CIS and Europe
The ITU has made significant commitments to developing countries in a series of instruments:
• Article 17 of the ITU Constitution that the functions of ITU-T are to be performed “bearing in mind the particular concerns of the developing countries”;
• Resolution 123 (Rev. Antalya, 2006) on bridging the standardization gap; and
• Resolution 139 (Antalya, 2006) which invites Member States to implement rapidly Resolution 37 (Rev. Doha, 2006) of the World Telecommunication Development Conference on bridging the digital divide.
Between the developing and developed countries there is a general digital divide of which one part is the standardization gap. This is recognised in Resolution 44 (Johannesburg, 2008) as having three dimensions:
• The disparity of voluntary standardization;
• The disparity of mandatory technical regulations; and
• The disparity of conformity assessment.
Resolution 76 (Johannesburg, 2008) on conformance and interoperability testing considered:
• that some countries, especially the developing countries, have not yet acquired the capacity to test equipment and provide assurance to consumers in their countries; and
• that increased confidence in the conformance of information and communication technologies (ICT) equipment with ITU-T Recommendations would increase the chances of end-to-end interoperability of equipment from different manufacturers, and would assist developing countries in the choice of solutions.
• the need to assist developing countries in facilitating solutions which will exhibit interoperability and reduce the cost of systems and equipment procurement by operators, particularly in the developing countries, whilst improving product quality;
• assist developing countries in identifying human and institutional capacity-building and training opportunities in conformity and interoperability testing;
• assist developing countries in establishing regional or subregional conformity and interoperability centres suitable to perform conformity and interoperability testing as appropriate;
Instructed the Director of TSB:
• to conduct exploratory activities in each region in order to identify and prioritize the problems faced by developing countries related to achieving interoperability of ICT equipment and services;
The following sections review the issues of developing countries then the interoperability problems identified by developing countries in the different regions: CIS & Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Africa and the Arab states.
The ITU holds developing countries to include three specific categories:
• Least Developed Countries (LDCs);
• Small Island Developing States (SIDS); and
• Countries with Economies in Transition (EIT).
It does not define these terms, but uses the definitions provided by the General Assembly of the United Nations and by its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Least Developed Countries (LDCs) can be identified by the following three criteria:
• Low-income, a three-year average of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (under US$ 745 for inclusion, above US$ 900 for graduation);
• A composite Human Assets Index (HAI) based on: percentage of population undernourished, mortality rate for children aged five years or under, the secondary school enrolment ratio and adult literacy rate; and
• A composite Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) based on: population size, remoteness, merchandise export concentration, share of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in GDP, homelessness owing to natural disasters, instability of...
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