Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements” – by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable.
This report finds that traditional development challenges are preventing the digital revolution from fulfilling its transformative potential. Those in extreme poverty have the most to gain from better communication and access to information. Nearly 6 billion people do not have high-speed internet, making them unable to fully participate in the digital economy. To deliver universal digital access, there must be investment in infrastructure and reforms that bring greater competition to telecommunications markets, promote public-private partnerships, and yield effective regulation.
The report concludes that the full benefits of the information and communications transformation will not be realised unless countries continue to improve their business climate, invest in people’s education and health, and promote good governance.