COVID-19: We’re tracking digital responses worldwide. Here’s what we see

Digital technologies are vital tools for helping people cope with stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Digital technologies are instrumental in supporting health care systems, not only though telemedicine and COVID screening apps, but also through Big Data and artificial intelligence analytics for mobility patterns, epidemiological models, and contact tracing. And in many other sectors, digital is also the new normal for individuals, governments, and businesses around the world.


But digital requires access to affordable and reliable internet connections. Government and industry responses to enhance access are urgently needed, especially in lower-income countries. Consider this: only 19 percent of the people in the Least Developed Countries are using the internet. In Africa, the regional average for broadband penetration — including 3G and 4G connections — is still only 25 percent.

The World Bank’s Digital Development Global Practice has identified more than 300 government and private sector initiatives around the world in which COVID-19 response encompasses actions on digital ICT infrastructure and digital services for health, education and payments.

Our database covers responses in 30 high-income countries and 53 low- and middle-income countries, including more than 20 countries in Africa.

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