Economic - other issues


The ride-hailing company consented to pay a fine of € 2,3 million to settle charges concerning past violations of local laws in the Netherlands. When UberPop operated in the country, between July 2014 and November 2015, it allowed its drivers to provide transportation services without a proper license. Local taxi laws require private transportation services to have a taxi license. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DPPS) announced that Uber International BV, Uber Netherlands BV, Uber BV and Rasier Operations BV agreed to pay the amount. In addition, the person responsible to start Uber’s operations in the Netherlands had to perform community service penalty. The DDPS believes that a Court would have decided in the same way of settlement terms.

During Africa Tech Week 4-5 March 2019, UK and South Africa announced they will collaborate to lead the Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Agenda that aims at promoting prosperity through digital trade. The agenda advocates inclusive growth and sustainable development in the Commonwealth through exchanging best practices and views on digital connectivity. Aiming at allowing members to potentialise digitisation, member states will collaborate to develop national digital economies through improving information and communication technology (ICT) capability, regulatory frameworks, digital infrastructure, the disruptive effects of digital trade, and the participation of women in the digital economy. "As Commonwealth countries prepare to embrace the opportunities this offers, and to ensure that the smaller and more vulnerable are not left behind, collaboration and innovation are of supreme importance," said Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General. This was further reinforced by Dr Rob Davies MP, South African Minister for Trade and Industry, who noted that "[a]ppropriate policies and measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries benefit from the advantages of technological progress and do not suffer from lack of its early adoption."

According to a report, Jamaica’s Universal Service Fund (USF) has as its target in 2019 to set up more community Access Points (CAP) to a broaden access to internet services to citizens and businesses across the island states. This year’s deployment will complement efforts over the years which has seen the establishment of over 300 CAP sites through the USF.

According to Kwan Wilson, director of projects at the agency, the fund will also focus on increasing the number of free Wi-Fi zones on top of the already implemented secured public hotspots currently in the high traffic areas of the country. This according to him will facilitate greater access.

According to a report, a federal appeals court on 1 February overturned the decision by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to take broadband subsidies away from tribal residents. The broadband subsidies allow residents to obtain a US$25-per-month lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service. The FCC’s decision reached by a vote of 3 to 2 in November 2017, could not be implemented due to a stay order issued by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August 2018. The follow-up ruling by the same court has now effectively halted FCC’s plans.

The top reasons why UK residents switched their broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2018, were to save money (29.9%) or get access to faster speeds (25.4%), while 18.3% simply sought better internet quality. This was discovered from the results of an online survey of 1,380 ISPreview.com.co.uk readers, which was conducted between 16 November 2018 and 2 January 2019.

The outcome of the survey according to the report is not different from those of previous years, with broadband speed, price and service quality continuing predictably to be the motivator for people changing their ISP.


The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a report on how new technologies open up opportunities for leapfrogging in developing countries. Leapfrogging is the concept of ‘bypassing intermediate stages of technology through which countries have historically passed during the development process’. However, it necessitates innovation policies to uphold the deployment of frontier technologies and their adaptation to meet their needs and promote sustainable development. The report notes that rapid technological advances and cost reductions in ICT have enabled some developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, to skip the development of landline infrastructure by moving directly to mobile telecommunications. According to the report, countries need strategic innovation policies, sound infrastructure and institutions, and appropriate technological standards to promote leapfrogging.



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