Almost half the world's population has no Internet access
The report entitled 'Measuring digital development: Facts & figures 2019,' confirmed that the majority of people without Internet access live in less developed countries, where on average only 2 out of every 10 people are connected to the Internet.
The Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, reported in this city that connecting these people with the power of digital technologies 'must become one of our most urgent development priorities.'
She stressed that to achieve this, 'will require targeted efforts to lower the cost of broadband and innovative policies to finance network rollout to unconnected populations.'
The study by the UN agency recognized that Internet use continues to rise worldwide, and currently 4.1 billion people use it, equivalent to 53.6 percent of the world's population.
According to the document, Europe is the region with the highest use (82.5 percent), while Africa is the region with the lowest (28.2 percent).
The ITU expects that by the end of 2019, 57 percent of households around the world will have access to the web, yet it expects the number of homes with a computer to rise just one percentage point, up to 49.7 percent, between 2018 and 2019.
The slowdown in the growth of computer ownership in homes is linked to the fact that in many countries, computers are no longer needed to access the Internet from home, since people connect through their mobile phones.
ITU noted that affordability and lack of digital skills are still some of the most important obstacles to the adoption and effective use of cyberspace, especially in the least developed countries.
The report indicated that in 40 of the 84 countries with data, less than half of the population have basic computer skills, such as copying a file or sending an email with an attached file.
Bogdan-Martin acknowledged that, 'Even where connectivity exists, we need to be more creative in addressing critical issues like the affordability of service, cost of handsets and lack of digital skills and literacy to enable more people and especially women to participate and flourish in the digital economy.' ■