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Bridging the Digital Divide Part 1 - The Global Digital Divide

Sneha Aug 18, 2016

Global Digital Divide Digital Technology Digital Divide

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Well! Before the beginning of 20th century, digital divide meant a gap between those with and without telephone accessibility; after the late 90s this was referred mainly to describe a divide between those with and without internet access, in particular broadband.

At present, the term is referred to highlight the digital split between economies and regions with regard to modern information and communications technologies (ICT)

No doubt digital technology is transforming the world of business and work and even governments, but is this enough!

Yes it is true that we are entering an era of digital mesh where people and things are connected. This rapid spread of internet and mobile devices create opportunities, jobs and growth at exponential speed. But globally a few economies are still facing a huge digital divide between those who are connected and those not connected. These countries need to improve their digital expansion among all parts of society to promote good governance. As per the World Bank’s new report, more than 4 billion people i.e., a staggering 60% of the world's population has no access to the internet. This is creating a new underclass of disconnected people and societies.

While there are many countries which are over performing with larger penetration of digital technologies such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Netherlands, there are many underperformers typically low-income economies like Central Africa, Ethiopia and countries such as Afghanistan with less than 10% of population using internet or any other digital technology.

Such countries must persist on connecting everyone because the cost of lost opportunities is huge. Here, we need to pause and question whether the spread of digital technologies alone likely to spell the end of global digital divide.

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