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World Bank, US State Dept. Warn Of Big Y2K Crisis

Only 15% of 139 developing countries had taken steps to fix Year 2000 computer date rollover problems warns the World Bank. Don't expect global economic growth to continue. John Howard reports.

Coupled with the World Bank's forecasts, the US State Department says half of the 161 countries it examined are believed to face a medium-to-high risk of experiencing failures in their telecomunications, energy and/or transportation because of year 2000 computer glitches.

While an on-going Cap Gemini study, who surveyed 140 executives at major companies, reveals that fewer than half of America's largest companies (48%) expect to have their critical systems prepared for the year 2000.

The current global economic growth is expected to slow significantly in the first two quarters of 2000 due to companies putting IT development on hold and because present stockpiling of goods and materials already on site will be need to used up first, even if nothing happens.

The present global economic growth is partly attributed to companies stockpiling things like paper, coal, oil and other raw materials. On the other side of the ledger, stock market investors, while seeing a growing bubble, don't seem interested in y2k seeming to just want to make more money.

William Ulrich of IT company, Systems Transformation, says by April 15, 2000, some of the initial impacts of the Year 2000 problem will have dissipated. Many others, he believes, will have a cascading effect into a series of long-term systemic challenges.

"Most of the scenario planning around y2k has focused on the 24-hour period which begins on December 31 and ends on January 1," he said. But he added that the inter-connectedness of computers globally will see secondary impacts manifesting themselves over weeks and months.

"Scenarios are likely to play out in a slow buildup through a cascading effect of interconnected events and then slowly reside," Mr Ulrich said.

It seems consumers may need a lot more patience next year.


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