Internet said to speed development for poor nations

by reuters | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 23 September 2010 17:25 GMT

* Technology allows faster pace development for the poor

* Obama, Gates to address Clinton philanthropic summit

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Internet technology drives economic growth and enables poor countries to develop at a faster pace than rich nations did, Cisco <CSCO.O> Chief Executive John Chambers, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and other business leaders said on Thursday.

Chambers told former U.S. President Bill Clinton's philanthropic summit in New York that an ability to collaborate on global development using Internet communication was one of the most fundamental advances since the Industrial Revolution.

"It suddenly allows us to change people's lives at tremendous speed," Chambers, whose company makes tech network equipment, told a panel discussion. "If you watch the speed of change that is now occurring its almost what used to occur in 10 years can occur in one."

More than 1,300 people including heads of state, business leaders, humanitarians and celebrities have attended the three-day Clinton Global Initiative. U.S. President Barack Obama and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were due to speak during the final session later on Thursday.

Twitter Chairman Dorsey said that social networking sites allowed one person's view or advice to become global and noted that the technology was so simple and inexpensive "that anyone can access it."

But he said that because there was so much information available "discovering what's the most important and what's relevant is one of the biggest challenges of technology."

Suntech Power Holdings Co <STP.N> Chief Executive Zhengrong Shi said technology had allowed countries like China to develop quickly by learning from other nations' progress. While broadband Internet access was standard in Chinese hotels, there were still hotels in Europe that did not have it, he said.

Ratan Tata, chairman of India's oldest and best-known conglomerate Tata Sons <TATAS.UL>, told the panel: "Technology is going to be very much the enabler and the driver of changing the quality of life and changing the level of livelihood of people around the world."

To attend Clinton's meeting, commitments must be made to tackle economic empowerment, education, environment and energy, and health. More than 300 pledges valued at more than $6 billion have been made so far this year. (Editing by David Storey)

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