Digital Divide

Author:Natalie Ramírez-Djumena
SUMMARY

Despite the rapid spread of digital technologies, the anticipated benefits of higher growth and more jobs have fallen short

 
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Digital Divide Finance & Development, September 2016, Vol. 53, No. 3

Natalie Ramírez-Djumena

Despite the rapid spread of digital technologies, the anticipated benefits of higher growth and more jobs have fallen short

Digital technologies—the Internet, mobile phones, and all the other tools to collect, store, and share information digitally—have spread rapidly in much of the world. The number of Internet users has more than tripled in the past decade—from 1 billion in 2005 to an estimated 3.2 billion at the end of 2015. But the anticipated digital dividends of higher growth, more jobs, and better public services have fallen short.

According to a new World Bank report, World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends, nearly 60 percent of the world’s population—or 4 billion people—are still offline and can’t fully participate in the digital economy. In addition, some of the benefits of the Internet are being offset by new risks, such as a poor business climate and vested business interests that limit competition and inhibit future innovation.

Closing the remaining digital divide by making the Internet universally accessible, affordable, open, and...

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