New study shows economic impact of broadband on least-developed, landlocked and small island nations

Least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS)’ constitute 91 of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Some of them lag significantly behind in terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of the ongoing global efforts to help countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is necessary to pay particular attention to these groups of countries.

With the onset of the digital economy and the technological revolution, broadband connectivity, or, more broadly, access to fast Internet, is a necessity if countries are to participate effectively in the global economy.

Indeed, broadband is an enabling technology, as it supports existing and new applications in many different sectors, including education, government, financial services, health, disaster management and e-commerce. Yet broadband Internet access in the majority of the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS remains below the global average.

“LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS would do well to implement policies that focus on further investment in improving broadband access, connectivity and uptake.”

Notwithstanding anecdotal evidence of the positive impact of broadband on economic, human and social outcomes, there are very few studies that quantify these positive contributions at the macro level.

Moreover, most of the existing studies are not current, and hence do not take account of the improvement in access to broadband and its application in a growing number of activities and industries.

To fill this gap, ITU and UN-OHRLLS joined forces to prepare this study and assess the economic impact of broadband in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.

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