OAS study: 36% of SMEs online

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Internet access is enjoyed by 36% of El Salvadorian SMEs, local daily El Diario de Hoy reported, citing a US$160mn study funded by the Organization of American States (OAS). The study also found that 47% of Salvadorian SMEs are equipped with computers and that 80% want to be online in the short term. The figures place El Salvador third in the region behind Costa Rica and Panama. Rapid growth could see these numbers doubled within two years, according to José Alfaro, a consultant with Costa Rica's high tech advisory commission (Caatec). The study was conducted by Caatec, which surveyed 788 SMEs in the region to measure SME access to information and communications technology (ICT). Overall, 67% of Central American SMEs had computers. Those that did not said the main reasons for not buying one were that they were too expensive, that they did not know how to use one and simply that a PC is not necessary from their point of view. "Lack of knowledge about the importance of ICT is high. The perception of cost-benefit tends to be seen in the negative. SMEs need to be shown that these technologies are beneficial," Alfaro was reported as saying. Of the SMEs that did have computers with an internet connection, most were used to research the competition, interact with distributors and download software.

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