Finance Leader Urges Tech Firms To 'Bridge Digital Divide'

U.S. high-tech companies need to set even higher goals and take advantage of the opportunities for profitably bridging the digital divide between developed and developing countries. That's the message that George Muñoz, president and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), took to the San Francisco Bay area this week. "Without a bridge across the digital divide, worthy U.S. trade partners will languish and American business, as well as theirs, will be the worse for it," Muñoz contends. Seizing the opportunities "requires a strategic effort to help developing countries overcome a scarcity in telecom infrastructure, insufficient education in science and technology, and governments that do not commit resources to the development of the industry." OPIC and Muñoz have some experience in the field. Through its finance and risk-insurance programs, OPIC currently is supporting more than 100 telecommunications projects in developing nations. And OPIC's private equity funds are invested in more than 65 information-technology projects in Asia, southeast Europe, Latin America, and Africa.

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