Finland has largest share of economy based on information technology – UN

15 February 2012Finland has the world’s largest portion of domestic economic activities related to information and communication technology, with almost a tenth of the European country’s non-agricultural business workforce employed in the ICT sector, according to United Nations data released today. Finland has the world’s largest portion of domestic economic activities related to information and communication technology, with almost a tenth of the European country’s non-agricultural business workforce employed in the ICT sector, according to United Nations data released today.The data, released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, also shows that the ICT sector is still in its infancy in many developing economies.The UNCTAD database currently contains information on 57 economies. The lack of more comprehensive data can be seen as yet another illustration of the digital divide, the agency said in a press release.None of the countries classified as among the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) report statistics on the size of their ICT sectors, UNCTAD points out.Based on the latest available data, the proportion of ICT-sector employment in all business sectors ranges from less than two per cent in Azerbaijan, Croatia and Kazakhstan to more than eight per cent in Finland, Israel and Sweden.The ICT sector is playing a growing role in a number of developing countries, according to UNCTAD. In India, for example, the contribution of the ICT sector to gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 3.4 per cent in 2000-01 to 5.9 per cent in 2007-08.In Kenya, the sector has expanded annually by more than 20 per cent over the past decade and accounted for a staggering 24 per cent of the country’s GDP growth during that period.The ICT sector has an impact on governments, companies, individuals and society at large, creating jobs, spurring innovation and supporting the sustained use of ICTs in domestic economies, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency.Jobs in ICT have proved to be more productive than those in other sectors, according to UNCTAD.In the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), between 1995 and 2008, labour productivity grew faster in the ICT sector than in the rest of the business sector.The sector’s contribution to domestic economies is typically higher in terms of value added than in jobs. However, it employs relatively younger people with above-average levels of education, making it possible for them to have upward mobility, job security, and future training opportunities. read more

SNCLavalin delays important decision on jury or judge in corruption trial

MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is pushing back its decision on whether to opt for a trial by jury or by judge alone in a corruption case that has tripped up the engineering giant and ensnared it in a political controversy for months.“I need more time to make the choice. It has to be decided by several people in the company,” defence lawyer Francois Fontaine told the Court of Quebec on Friday.“Because it’s an important decision,” he told reporters after the morning hearing. “It’s a big company. It’s necessary to take the time to analyze it carefully.”Last week a Quebec judge ruled there is enough evidence to send SNC-Lavalin to trial over charges of fraud and corruption, prompting a further tumble in the beleaguered firm’s share price.The company has previously pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.SNC-Lavalin is due back in court June 28.The Montreal-based firm is accused of paying $47.7 million in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011. SNC-Lavalin, its construction division and a subsidiary also face one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of $129.8 million.The court hearing in Montreal on Friday was the latest step in criminal proceedings that began last fall after SNC-Lavalin failed to secure a deferred prosecution agreement, a kind of plea deal that would have seen the firm agree to pay a fine rather than face prosecution.Since early February, SNC-Lavalin has been at the centre of a political controversy following accusations from former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould that top government officials pressured her to overrule federal prosecutors and negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with the company. read more