Despite the impressive growth of the digital economy in the industrialized world and its increasing penetration into developing countries, many nations still face challenges to fully benefit from the opportunities offered by Information and Communication Technologies. The different speed of ICT diffusion in wealthy and developing countries has created a global digital divide hampering the potential for economic growth and increased quality of life.

The considerable contribution of ICT to socio-economic development and poverty reduction has been widely recognised by the international community, including the ASEM ICT Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi in November 2006. International development cooperation was among the topics on the agenda of the 7th ASEM Summit which was held in Beijing on 24-25 October 2008.

The ASEM KL Workshop facilitated the exchange of best practices and lessons learned at national and international level involving key players in the field. Its objectives were to provide recommendations on ICT for development priorities for the coming years that could lead to concrete development initiatives.

Part of the Workshop will celebrate the achievements of the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) – an ASEM ICT initiative providing high-speed data interconnections for all Asian research and education communities to Europe and beyond. Particular focus will be on including the wider Asian community through TEIN’s extension to South Asia, under the theme ‘South Meets East’.