Working Paper 01-02 - Production and diffusion of ICT in Belgium
Information and communication technology (ICT) has become a significant economic activity in most industrialized countries as well as an important engine of innovation and changes in the rest of the economy. It has been recognized as one of the key factors boosting productivity growth and hence business sector competitiveness. Various initiatives have been recently adopted at regional, national and European levels in order to meet quickly the new challenges of ICT use and diffusion in Europe. A growing number of indicators are now available in order to assess the position of each country or region in terms of ICT development and to guide policy decisions in that field. The aim of this report is to provide a clear and succinct view of the relative development of ICT in Belgium by analyzing both the production and the diffusion of ICT in our economy 1 and to highlight the main weaknesses and strengths of the Belgian economy in that area. Even if the sector has been recently characterised by stock markets ups and downs and numerous bankruptcies, production of ICT goods and services has contributed significantly during the nineties to the growth of economic activity and employment in some industrialised countries as for instance in Anglo-saxon and Scandinavian countries. Has Belgian economic activity benefited from the boom in the ICT sector to the same extent as other industrialised countries? What kind of development can be expected in the future? These are the main questions addressed in the part of the report devoted to the analysis of the Belgian ICT production sector.
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