Internet for SMEs in Developing Countries?

The World Bank’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Department promotes local small business growth in developing nations. As noted on the World Bank Group’s website:

    “For an impoverished family in a developing country, establishing a small- or micro-enterprise often represents the first tentative step toward self-sufficiency. The SME sector as a whole can galvanize an entire economy, creating jobs and spurring growth.

    In much of the developing world, the private economy is almost entirely comprised of SMEs. In Ecuador, for example, 99 percent of all private companies have no more than 50 employees. Bottom line? SMEs are frequently the only realistic employment opportunity for millions of poor people throughout the world.”

Out of the four key ways that the World Bank helps SMEs, one of them is through helping smaller enterprises obtain access to the Internet and information technology. The World Bank aims to help SMEs leverage technology and the Internet to discover market information, link up with suppliers and sell to global customers.

It is surprising to find that the World Bank places so much emphasis on the Internet and information technology — so much so that it’s one-fourth of their SME strategy.

Without a doubt, the Internet has increased the pace of globalization dramatically. And it has become an indispensable tool for businesses in the developed world.

But are most SMEs in third world countries really ready to do business using the Internet? Or do they have more pressing needs? We are reminded of the Gates Foundation, which announced in 1997 that it would donate computers to third world countries in an attempt to bridge the digital divide, only to change its priorities a few years later to focus on health care. Why? Because of Bill Gates’ realization that third world countries had more immediate and urgent needs than access to computers and the Internet.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

2 Reactions
  1. Maxwell Agyeman

    Good Morning Sir/Madam,

    I’m Maxwell Agyeman. I’m a Ghanaian businessman based in Ghana, West Africa. I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Company- Juaboso Agro Processing Company (, in the Juaboso District of the Western Region of Ghana. I am also a representative of local development initiative programs assisting the DISTRICT CHIEF EXECUTIVE (CITY MAYOR) in our District Assembly-JUABOSO DISTRICT ASEMBLY. You can find more details on our District at ( under the Western Region.

    DORMAX GROUP -Ghana, is the capacity building wing of our company-JUABOSO AGRO PROCESSING COMAPNY-( have come up with a program with the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) branch at ) for:

    * Marketing
    * Export and Trade Growth
    * Effective Accounting
    * Technology Transfer, and
    * Networking

    I have being searching the net for training contacts for some of our key field staffs. I saw your programs can help us in:

    * Embracing New Technology in Small Business
    * Internet Business Strategy Training Programme
    * Project to Inform Small and Medium Enterprises
    * Small Firms and the Internet
    * Certified Internet Instructors Training Programme

    We belief they can benefit our local SME’s if you can give us the opportunity for your technical team members to train some of our field staffs and support them to be able to train transfer the knowledge to our Ghanaian SME’S in Ghana.
    We aim to help them grasp the essentials of the internet and e-commerce, develop a strategy for going online (or improve their presence online) and learn basic skills for using the internet. Our eight modules are:

    * Using the Email
    * Searching the Web
    * Sourcing Business Information on the Web
    * Introduction to Networking on the net
    * Introduction to Newsgroups
    * Overview of the Internet
    * Marketing on the Internet, and
    * Managing the Operation of Website

    These would allow our local SME’s identify key issues in reorganizing their businesses to take advantage of the benefits of e-commerce. If there is opportunity for us to get support for student volunteers, please let us know for further discussions.

    Maxwell Agyeman
    Juaboso Agro Processing Company
    C/o Mrs. Doris Agyeman
    NCCE Regional Office
    Food House-Asokwa
    Box 5219
    Kumasi-Ashanti- Region
    Ghana, West Africa.
    233 244 844 871
    233 244 758 813

    Emails (


    website (

  2. I am a man of 27 years of age and i want to know where ican locate you.
    Please send every iformation through my mail thank you sir,madam.