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Access to and use of ICTs keep growing but stronger ICT skills needed to connect people everywhere

Geneva, 11 December 2018 – More and more people have access to and are using the Internet. However, stronger information and communication technology (ICT) skills are needed to connect people everywhere, highlights ITU’s Measuring the Information Society Report 2018. At the same time, ICT prices have dropped globally in the last decade. Improved ICT regulation and policy-making have played a pivotal role in creating the conditions for the reduction of prices, ensuring that part of the efficiency gains of higher ICT adoption are passed on to consumers.

“This year’s report shows how increased investment in broadband technologies is driving the global digital transformation and enabling more people to access a myriad of services at the click of a button,” says ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “At the just concluded Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) held in Dubai, ITU Member States approved the four-year Strategic and Financial Plan, which includes a strong commitment to ITU’s statistical work. We will work together to build the ICT infrastructure and develop ICT skills necessary to foster inclusive economic growth, drive innovation and bridge the digital divide.”

“Now in its tenth year, ITU’s annual flagship report is widely recognized as a source of the world’s most reliable and impartial data and analysis on the state of global telecommunication/ICT sector,” says Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Our analysis shows that digital technologies are fundamentally transforming the way we live and offering important opportunities for boosting economic growth, enhancing communications, improving energy efficiency, safeguarding the planet and improving people’s lives.”

THE CURRENT STATE OF ICTs

The report finds that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and use of ICTs. Most importantly, the world has crossed the halfway line in terms of Internet use, with 51.2 per cent of the world population using the Internet by the end of 2018.

ICT SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

Lack of or inadequate ICT skills are a major impediment for people to access the Internet. ITU data and other cross-nationally comparative data sources show that there are considerable gaps across the board in the skills needed. A third of individuals lack basic digital skills, such as copying files or folders or using copy and paste tools; a mere 41 per cent have standard skills, such as installing or configuring software or using basic formulas on spreadsheets; and only 4 per cent are using specialist language to write computer programmes.

[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or the official policy of the website. ]
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