We find ourselves in the midst of the greatest information and communications revolution in human history. More than 40 percent of the world’s population has access to the internet, with new users coming online every day. Among the poorest 20 percent of households, nearly 7 out of 10 have a mobile phone. The poorest households are more likely to have access to mobile phones than to toilets or clean water.
We must take advantage of this rapid technological change to make the world more prosperous and inclusive. This Report finds that traditional development challenges are preventing the digital revolution from fulfilling its transformative potential...
While this is great progress, many are still left out because they do not have access to digital technologies. Those in extreme poverty have the most to gain from better commu- nication 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, we must invest in infrastructure and pursue 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 realized unless countries continue to improve their business climate, invest in people’s education and health, and promote good governance.
In countries where these fundamentals are weak, digital technologies have not boosted productivity or reduced inequality. Countries that complement technology investments with broader economic reforms reap digital dividends in the form of faster growth, more jobs, and better services.