Geneva, 05 March 2023 — The digital connectivity divide separating the globe’s least developed countries (LDCs) from the world as a whole shows no sign of narrowing. In fact, it is widening on key factors, according to ITU’s Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries.
While the share of the population in LDCs using the Internet has increased since 2011 from 4 per cent to 36 per cent, about two-thirds of the LDC population remains offline. LDCs also still face numerous barriers to meaningful connectivity, including lack of infrastructure, affordability, and skills.
Although no single figure can capture all aspects and complexities of the digital divide, the gap between LDCs and the world in the share of people using the Internet has actually increased from 27 percentage points in 2011 to 30 percentage points in 2022.
“The path to prosperity for the world’s least developed countries runs through digital development,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “This special edition of ITU’s Facts and Figures highlights the challenges confronting LDCs and should help strengthen commitments between the least developed countries and their development partners.”
The ITU study, prepared ahead of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), focuses on trends in digital connectivity in LDCs since 2011, when the UN last held its global conference on least developed countries.