THE ADOPTION AND USE OF NEW INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AT THE LEVEL OF CEE-EU COUNTRIES
AbstractThis paper focuses on determining the current state of adoption of new information and communication technologies by the population of EU countries from the Central and Eastern parts of Europe (referred in the paper as CEE-EU countries). We have conducted a detailed analysis between Romania and Bulgaria because there are historical, geographical, political and economic similarities between these two neighbouring countries. In order to objectively reflect the results of the comparative analysis at the regional level, we have used the data provided by the World Economic Forum through the Competitiveness Index, the International Institute for Management Development through the Competitiveness Yearbook and the International Telecommunication Union through the ICT Development Index. The results of the comparative analysis reflect many regional disparities. At the same time, it can be noticed that both Romania and Bulgaria are the countries with the weakest results regarding the penetration rate of Internet accessibility in their populations, a fact which leads to a low degree of adaptability of the human capital to new information technologies and, implicitly, a low rate of adoption of the Internet in the sphere of business and public services. This is explained by the insufficient development of ICT infrastructure in the rural area, caused by numerous factors such as insufficient economic development and the low purchasing power of the population, but also by the relatively low level of education in ICT use. Although the influx of information and communication technologies occurred after the 1990s, namely at a time when even countries like Romania or Bulgaria were already part of the free market economy, the gaps recorded during the communist regime (economic, but especially socio-cultural), were apparently difficult to recover in the years to come, therefore this upsurge in information technology has been somewhat delayed in the South-Eastern area of Europe.
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