Background paper

Digital technology governance: developing countries' priorities and concerns

Phillips, T., Kira, B., Tartakowsky, A., Dolan, J. and Natih, P. (2020). Digital technology governance: developing countries’ priorities and concerns. Digital Pathways at Oxford Paper Series; no. 3. Oxford, United Kingdom

This paper discusses the technology policy priorities of policymakers and subject-matter experts in developing countries, based on a quantitative analysis of an online survey of digital policy experts from different countries and regions, and a qualitative analysis of interviews and focus-groups with government global experts in technology policy. Our main findings are that, first, policymakers around the world are concerned with a broad range of technology-related policy priorities, but developing countries are primarily concerned with issues more closely related to how digital technologies can affect economic development. Second, international cooperation is critical to achieving some technology policy goals, but there are also relevant domestic constraints that may be more salient or important (eg political and technical obstacles). Further, there is evidence of a power imbalance between developed and developing countries in setting the international agenda, with low- and middle-income countries feeling that these forums do little to contribute to their technology policy goals. Finally, we identified that policymakers perceive coordination among nations that have similar levels of technology development (eg regional collaboration) as a pathway to improving technology policy.