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Fixing the Global Digital Divide and Digital Access Gap

 |  July 7, 2023

By: Landry Signé (The Brookings Institution)

The global digital divide has garnered increased attention, particularly following the rapid shift of all aspects of life online during the pandemic, including work, education, and social interactions. This period witnessed a significant surge in internet usage, with 466 million individuals accessing the internet for the first time in 2020. From 2021 to 2022, there was a further growth in the number of global internet users by 7% and an increase in internet penetration by 6%.

While these statistics suggest progress in digital access, the reality remains that as of 2022, approximately 2.7 billion people, which accounts for about one-third of the global population, still lack internet access. Additionally, 53% of the world lacks access to high-speed broadband. This digital divide poses risks by exacerbating economic, political, and social disparities, hindering inclusion and equality.

These trends underscore the importance of policymakers addressing the global digital divide and paying attention to the regional disparities in technology access and utilization. It is crucial to bridge these gaps to ensure equal opportunities and promote equitable development worldwide…