ICT skills to foster inclusive economic growth says ITU

More and more people have access to and are using the Internet but stronger information and communication technology (ICT) skills are needed to connect people everywhere says ITU.
ITU’s Measuring the Information Society Report 2018 reports that 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.”
Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau said, “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.”
Fixed-line revenue represented half of telecommunication revenues generated in 2016 worldwide. Globally, mobile revenues declined by 7 per cent between 2014 and 2016, from $924 billion in 2014 to 859 billion in 2016. The report finds that mobile revenue growth is impacted by the uptake in services that run “over-the-top” (OTTs) of existing telecommunications infrastructure and that the success of IP-messaging apps is often to the detriment of traditional text usage and the associated revenue.
Computer users in developed countries seem to possess more ICT skills than users in developing countries. Lack of or inadequate ICT skills can seriously constrain the socio-economic development of developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The report suggests that inequalities in ICT use reflect other inequalities, such as those related to education, wealth and gender between the different regions of the world.
The report shows global retail telecommunication revenues reaching $1.7 trillion in 2016, representing 2.3 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP). Telecommunication revenues in 2016 represented on average 3 per cent of GDP in Africa and the Arab States, compared to 2 per cent in Asia and the Pacific and the Americas (excluding the United States and Canada), and less than 2 per cent in the CIS and Europe.
The report highlights that ICT prices have dropped globally in the last decade in parallel with the increase in access and use of ICT services. Fixed-broadband services recorded the largest price drop of all ICT services. Mobile-cellular prices also maintained a steady downward trend in the period 2008–2017, in line with the continuous increase in mobile-cellular penetration. Improved ICT regulation and policy-making have played a pivotal role in creating the conditions for the reduction of prices seen in the period 2008–2017, ensuring that the efficiency gains of higher ICT adoption are partly passed on to customers.
Some of the most populous countries worldwide, such as Bangladesh, China and India, stand out for having achieved mobile-cellular price baskets under $3 per month and feature among the top 20 countries with the lowest prices. A number of LDCs, including Bhutan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Nepal and South Sudan, also offer prices below $3 per month.

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