The President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, has underscored the importance of political commitment to bridge the “digital divide,” which exists between under-connected and highly digitalized countries so that the developing world can take advantage of the opportunities brought forth by digitization.
“Among these opportunities are higher productivity in all sectors, agriculture, manufacturing, services, finance, trade and communication, job creation, the fastest employment growth is now in work related to the ICT (Information and communications technology) sector, and expanding digitalization,” he said.
Highlighting the vast digital divide, he said that while 87% of people are online in the advanced countries, only 19% are connected in the poorest countries, pointing out that women were doubly disadvantaged, especially in the developing countries.
Bridging the digital divide will require investment in hardware and software, the ECOSOC chief said, noting that the underprivileged cannot currently access the necessary tools.
“We need to invest in the infrastructure. Infrastructure for broadband, the Internet cables, and the last mile solutions that are required to connect the world,” he said.