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World Bank Issues Y2K-aware Countries List

by Lynda B. Valencia

The World Bank (WB0) has released the following information on developing countries' awareness of the problems posed by the Year 2000 or Y2K computer bug.

It said the information was obtained from responses to WB surveys and from surveys at WB seminars.

The Philippines is in the list of countries with high awareness of Y2K issues. Also included are Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Lebanon, Lesotho, Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, the Gambia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Yemen.

Countries with no WB ranking on Y2K awareness are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chad, Comorso, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, Ivory Coast, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Papua New guinea, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tonga, and Uruguay.

Joyce Amenta, who coordinated the initiatives on the Y2K problem for the WB said "Most developing countries are unprepared for the looming problem."

Too few developing countries have taken actions needed to immunize their computer systems. Any potential Y2K economic and social instability will ripple throughout the global economy and endanger the economic progress being made in the developing world," Amenta said.

WB noted that even poor developing nations had computerized essential services like power generation, telecommunications, food distribution and medical care.

A general failure of such systems could endanger the health, security and economic well-being of people in the developing world," WB said.

The Bank urged developing countries to set priorities in crucial computer-intensive sectors like power generation and transmission, banking, transport and communications, health and education, and food and fuel distribution.

"With less than a year left before Jan. 1, 2000, it is just not possible to fix all the world's Y2K problems in time," WB said.

It said developing countries must focus their limited resources on those sectors that are crucial for keeping the state and the national security working.

 


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