Working Paper
Developing and Harnessing Software Technology in the South

The Roles of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa

Software technology is gaining prominence in national information technology (IT) strategies due to its huge potential for socioeconomic development, particularly through the support it provides in the productive sectors of the economy, delivery of public services and engagement of citizens. In growing numbers of developing countries, software technology is also being leveraged for income generation from digital services and products. For instance, in recent years, India, Chile, the Philippines, Brazil, China, and Indonesia have emerged as important global players in the offshore software services industry, with India and China standing out as leaders. Cooperation between developing countries (south-south) in the area of software technology has also been growing; particularly in the application of software technology to agriculture, public administration and governance (e-governance), transportation and the society (knowledge society). The paper presents the current state of software technology in the south and specifically, the maturity of the software industries in China, India, Brazil, and South Africa (CIBS). It establishes profiles of different regions based on the level of education, quality of research and availability of e-infrastructure and e-applications for determining the potential of these regions in terms of growth and competitiveness in the global software industry. Further complementary analysis of country profiles produced country clusters, helping to identify potential collaboration scenarios for advancing software capacity in the south. Finally, the paper discusses how CIBS can pivot regional or inter-regional cooperation in software technology in the south.