altVi university members, Universidad EAFIT in Colombia, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in Russia conducted national launches of UNCTAD's latest Information Economy Report (IER) on November 28. This year's edition focuses on the role of software in accelerating progress towards a more inclusive information society.

At EAFIT, host of Colombia's national launch for the third consecutive year, Félix González Londoño, research director and presenter of the report, said findings of the report meant new opportunities for developing countries, which should consider making the move from avid consumers of technology to providers of new applications and functionalities.

According to the report, because software is increasingly permeating societies at all levels of development and activity, it is becoming more important for countries to develop the technological capabilities needed to adopt and adapt existing software solutions, and eventually to innovate.

"Our countries must begin to emphasize this point: young people with the knowledge and access to [a computer or mobile device] can begin to develop the industry immediately," said EAFIT's Vi member coordinator, Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez.

Meanwhile, in Russia, the launch was conducted by MGIMO Vi member coordinator, Anna Abramova, who also contributed research on her country's software market development to this year's IER.

Russia's software and IT services industry accounts for about one-fifth of the total ICT-sector employment in the Russian Federation, and while the software and IT services market is relatively small compared with those in Brazil and China, it is growing faster, due to domestic demand from the extractive industry, the public sector and the financial and telecommunications industries.

Abramova's contribution also included information on exports, the role of e-government initiatives and ICT clusters in supporting the growth of the sector.