Putting money into education has built an IT-savvy work force in Costa Rica and Hungary. Loosening government restrictions on the telecom industry has enabled South Korea to move ahead in wired and wireless communications.þThese actions were important for those nations' economies - and the world economy, according to a new report from an international policy and technology consulting firm.þ"From the U.S. point of view, the report portrays both risks and opportunities - risks if these countries don't get their policies and practices in order, and opportunities to help them do so," said Bruce McConnell, head of the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, McConnell International LLC.þMcConnell's findings are part of a report released Aug. 23 called "Risk E-Business: Seizing the Opportunity of Global E-Readiness." The report was about three months in the making. He selected the countries based on their place in the world markets and the fact that they have some IT infrastructure.þ"These are the big markets and countries that can move forward relatively quickly because they've already gotten started," he said. But he was surprised to find "as many countries needing as much improvement as they do," he added.þThe report focused on what McConnell called "e-readiness" - five strengths required for an economy to function in an IT world: 1. Connectivity: Are IT networks in the country affordable to access and use? 2. E-leadership: Has government made e-readiness a national priority? 3. Information security: Can users trust the processing and storage of networked information? 4. Human capital: Is the work force being trained to build and support e-business and an IT society? 5. E-business climate: How easy is it to conduct e-business in a country?