MANHASSET, NY Intel Corp. Chairman Craig Barrett told the CeBIT 2009 conference this week that investments in information and communications technology will help ensure economic prosperity as the world undergoes a digital transformation.
Calling innovation and technology "the backbone of the modern economy," Barrett added: "There are three gauges nations can tune to compete: Investing in good education produces smart people; investing in research and development produces smart ideas; and creating the right environment in which smart people can develop smart ideas.
"These steps would stimulate economic growth, jobs and new opportunities, including future collaborations among private industry, government and academia," he added.
Barrett's has annually visited more than 30 countries as a "technology ambassador" and chairman of the U.N. Global Alliance for ICT and Development.
He warned at CeBIT that governments that ignore or delay investments are increasingly likely to find themselves at a global disadvantage. "In the current global economic climate, thinking long term is more important than ever," Barrett said. "Today, we can lay the groundwork for growth. Many nations and businesses try to save their way out of a recession. It is much better to invest our way out."
Barrett stressed the need to invest in education as the foundation of a strong economy, especially as developed nations shift from production to knowledge-based societies. Investments in education are critical given that more than 75 million primary-school age children throughout the developing world are unschooled and need help getting an education, according to Barrett.
He pointed to the Intel Teach program, which is designed to enhance classroom learning by training teachers to integrate technology into their curricula.
In Europe, nearly 1 million teachers have so far completed the Intel training program. In Germany alone, half of all teachers have been trained through the program. An estimated 89 percent of German teachers report that they are making use of technology in the classroom as a result of their training.