ARC Fund regularly monitors Bulgaria's preparedness for the information society by gauging the state of ICT infrastructure deployment and the availability and maturity of use of Internet and other ICT-related services in Bulgarian society, economy, education and government. The main objective of this assessment is to track the country's performance against key IS indicators, identify the barriers that constrain a faster uptake of these technologies, and see opportunities on which to capitalize in the future.
ARC Fund conducted its first e-readiness assessment during the second half of 2001 under a project commissioned by the World Bank's infoDev Program. Since then it has evolved into a regular exercise and the e-Bulgaria (e-Readiness) report into one of ARC Fund's key analytical products.
The methodology for this assessment has been developed jointly with the Vitosha Research agency. It uses a combination of several internationally acknowledged e-readiness methods, including the Computer System Policy Project's "Readiness Guide for Living in the Networked World", the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Electronic Commerce Steering Group's "E-commerce Readiness Assessment", and "Readiness for the Networked World: A Guide for Developing Countries" published by the Center for International Development at Harvard University. ARC Fund's methodology adapts certain aspects of these models and takes into account the specificities of the local ICT environment.
The definition of e-readiness draws widely on concepts developed by the Center for International Development at Harvard University. It defines the e-ready society as one that has the necessary physical infrastructure (high bandwidth, reliability, and affordable prices), had integrated current ICTs throughout businesses (e-commerce, local ICT sector), communities (local content, organizations online, ICTs used in everyday life, ICTs taught in schools), and the government (e-government).
The structure of the assessment focuses on five major categories of e-readiness:
- E-economy; and
A composite E-Bulgaria Index is then constructed on the basis of a questionnaire and a set of quantitative indicators.
The final document thus provides a comprehensive snap-shot of the country's state of readiness for the new economy, and a benchmarking tool which allows progress to be monitored over time. Its ultimate purpose is to assist the e-development stakeholders in Bulgaria (e.g. policy makers, international donor agencies, private sector organizations and others) in formulating adequate policies which take advantage of ICTs as a powerful enabler of economic growth and competitiveness. The report also serves as an advocacy tool in sensitizing local politicians and policy-makers on the importance of ICT for economic and social development, and a promotional tool in publicizing Bulgaria's performance and leadership potential with respect to ICTs before international donors and investors.
Read our analyses:
E-Bulgaria Report 2006
E-Bulgaria Report 2005
E-Bulgaria Report 2004
Bulgaria: ICT Infrastructure and E-Readiness Assessment, 2002