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The global digital divide Global Digital Divide The global digital divideWhat is it?The gap, or inequality, in access to digital technology worldwideThis usually means internet access, but can include mobile access and even access to apps.Its not quite as simple as having, or not having, an internet connectionIn advanced economies, people often connect through multiple devices.These people might be considered more deeply connected than those in the developing world who may have one, limited, way of connecting.Global Digital Divide The global digital divideWho is connected and who is not?Patterns of connections are complex.The table below suggests who is more or less likely to have an internet connection.If a person ticked all the boxes in the right-hand column they would be very unlikely to be connected.More likely to be connectedLess likely to be connected MenWomenYoungOldDeveloped worldDeveloping worldUrbanRuralDemocracy Dictatorship Rich PoorGlobal Digital Divide The global digital divideHow old is it?The digital divide concept is quite new.This is because digital technology only became common in the late 1990s and early 2000s.However, the idea of a world divided into haves and have-nots dates to the North-South divide concept of the 1980s.The 1981 Brandt Report outlined this view of a world divided by wealth and poverty.The digital divide is simply a modern extension of this idea.
The global North-South divide from the original Brandt Report published in 1981Global Digital Divide The global digital divideHow is it measured?A single measure, such as the percent of homes with internet access could be used (see map, next slide).This is a little crude, as people could have internet on their mobile, or use internet cafs.More useful is an index, which combines several different measures of being connected Examples include the ITU Digital Access Index and ICT Development Index (IDI)The IDI componentsICT ACCESSFixedtelephone linesMobile phone subscriptions Bandwidth per internet user% households with a computer% households with internet accessICT USE% individuals using the internetFixed broadband internet subscriptions Active mobile-broadband subscriptions
ICT SKILLSAdult literacy rateSecondary enrolment ratioTertiary enrolment ratioGlobal Digital Divide The global digital divide5Mapping the divideThe map shows internet access (% of population with access) in 2012Notice the very low access in central and west Africa, especially among land-locked countries Asia has very varied percentage access, South America more even access
Global Digital Divide The global digital divideIDI results for 2011The IDI top 10 are almost all northern European countries, plus Japan and South Korea.All of the bottom 10 are sub-Saharan African nations.China ranked 78th out of 155 countries, with the USA 15th. The IDI is strongly linked with levels of economic and social development.IDI top 10IDI bottom 10South KoreaSwedenDenmarkIcelandFinlandNetherlandsLuxembourgJapanUKSwitzerlandNigerChadCAREritreaBurkina FasoEthiopiaLiberiaGuineaMozambiqueDRCGlobal Digital Divide The global digital divideWhy does it exist?The main reason for the digital divide is economic.Digital technology costs money, and some people cannot afford it.However, its cause is more complex than just money. There are many reasons why people cannot get connected:
Global Digital Divide The global digital divideDoes it matter?Digital access does matter, because it can be a force for development, increase quality of life and reduce risk:Internet and mobile access allow trade to take place over long distances, opening up income opportunities.Digital information can warn of hazards and other dangers.Information can be a force for good in terms of challenging human rights abuses.Education and skills development can be delivered digitally.Migrants can keep in touch, and even send remittances home, digitally.Global Digital Divide The global digital divide