Digital divide 4 billion people lack access to internet - Report

The World Bank report said 60% of the world’s population remained excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy.

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play Henry Kerali, Ghana Country Director, World Bank Group
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A World Bank report has indicated that while digital technologies are spreading rapidly throughout the developing world, the anticipated digital dividends of higher growth, more jobs and better public services have fallen short of expectation.

It said 60% of the world’s population remained excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy.

According to the “World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends,” authored by co-directors, Deepak Mishra and Uwe Deichmann and team, the benefits of rapid digital expansion had been skewed towards the wealthy, skilled, and influential around the world who were better positioned to take advantage of the new technologies.

In addition, though the number of internet users worldwide had more than tripled since 2005, four billion people still lacked access to the internet.

Addressing a gathering in Accra, Henry Kerali, Ghana Country Director, World Bank Group, said the World Bank Group had strong portfolio in supporting the digital development agenda which included ICT infrastructure investments in fragile or remote countries where the private sector was unable to do the job.

“Here in Ghana, we have been working for a number of years with the government to develop policy and regulatory instruments to increase competition and encourage use of digital technologies as a way to raise productivity, increase jobs, improve government service delivery and diversify the economy.’’

The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward K. Omane Boamah, said the Ministry, through the National Communications Authority, continued to provide the enabling environment to promote the development of the sector.

He said as part of the e-Government Network Infrastructure being deployed by government, all exiting 30 WiMAX BTSs installed across the nation had been successfully upgraded to 4G LTE Base Station, to serve as the last mile solution while the nationwide 4G LTE network provided access to key government services to all regional and district offices.

Dr Boamah said 11 e-service applications for services such as business registration, tax administration and births and deaths registration were unveiled on the e-service portal (www.eservices.gov.gh) in 2013 as a channel for citizens and businesses to access government services and send feedback.

He said in furtherance of government’s resolve to bridge the digital gap between the served, unserved and underserved areas of the country, the Ministry in 2015 constructed 21 Enhanced Community Information Centres (e-CICs) in the 10 regions to bring internet closer to the people.

The Minister noted that in this era of ICTs, one could not ignore the threat of sophisticated cybercrimes.

Source: GNA

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