Less developed countries should promote domestic software development that meets local needs and capabilities, bringing development gains, a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report published last week says.
Locally developed software is more likely to fit the culture, context and language where it is used, according to the Information Economy Report 2012: The Software Industry and Developing Countries.
Adapted software can help firms with better resource management or operating business at a lower cost.
Software development can also contribute to learning and innovation, job creation and export revenues, the report says.
The report also says the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in developing countries can bring benefits in areas such as health, education, governance, the private sector and enterprise development.
But in order to gain these benefits from better ICT access, the devices and services used need to have software adapted to the needs and capabilities of their users, it says.
Chantra Be, lead organiser of BarCamp Phnom Penh, said more software companies in Cambodia developed software for overseas markets than for the local market, because the local market was still very small.
Chantra Be said local developers co-operated with foreign companies and developed software for overseas companies, who could in turn take advantage of lower labour costs.
“Overseas, they have a market,” he said.
Chantra Be added that although smaller local companies usually bought software from local developers, bigger companies such as banks tended to get their software from developers overseas, such as in the US.
According to the report, the main barrier to growth of the software and IT services industry in the Asia-Pacific is a lack of qualified human resources.
Chantra Be said the main challenges for local software creation in Cambodia were a small market and a lack of human resources.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anne Renzenbrink at [email protected]