'Digital divide' still wide in developing world, study finds

April 10, 2013
This photo taken on October 25, 2010 shows Nepalese girls surfing the internet in the village of Nagi, some 200 kms west of Kathmandu. Most developing countries are still struggling to bridge the "digital divide" limiting access to computers and the Internet for low-income citizens, a study showed Wednesday.

Most developing countries are still struggling to bridge the "digital divide" limiting access to computers and the Internet for low-income citizens, a study showed Wednesday.

The study for the World Economic Forum placed Finland at the top of its "networked readiness index" which measures a country's ability to make use of information technology for growth and well-being.

In second place in the index was Singapore, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway.

The United States ranked ninth, with a strong offset by a "political and regulatory environment" which limits the benefits of technology, the study found.

The report said large developing nations, including China, Russia and Brazil were lagging in these efforts.

"Several developing countries—notably in Africa, but also in Latin America and Southeast Asia—continue to show low values of connectivity with low level of Internet usage and limited development of e-commerce," said Benat Bilbao-Osorio, an economist at the .

"Their struggle to upgrade digital connectivity means they are losing out on all the social and economic rewards that go along with better ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure."

China's ranking fell seven spots from last year to 58th, the report said, adding that "the sustained of past years in some of these countries may be in jeopardy unless the right investments are made in ICT, skills and innovation."

Among the other BRICS countries, Russia rose two spots to 54th, Brazil increased five places to 65th, India edged up one spot to 68th and South Africa two spots to 70th.

"This report demonstrates that economies that fail to implement comprehensive national broadband strategies risk losing ground in and may fall behind in the delivery of from ICTs," said Robert Pepper of , a sponsor of the study.

Among the 144 countries studied, Burundi ranked last, behind Yemen, Algeria and Haiti.

Explore further: U.S. Cedes Top Spot in Global IT Competitiveness

Related Stories

U.S. Cedes Top Spot in Global IT Competitiveness

March 29, 2007

A low rate of mobile telephone usage, lack of government leadership in IT and fallen quality of math and science education were blamed for the U.S. slipping to seventh place in the World Economic Forum's ranking of technology ...

Denmark, Sweden top US in new global IT report

March 26, 2009

(AP) -- Denmark and Sweden are better than the United States in their ability to exploit information and communications technology, according to a survey published Thursday.

India's 'digital divide' worst among peers: study

March 30, 2011

Most Indians are missing out on the "digital revolution" due to dismal Internet access for the poor with the nation lagging far behind its emerging market peers, a study found Wednesday.

Developing countries face digital divide: study

April 4, 2012

The World Economic Forum said Wednesday that the BRICS countries, despite their booming economies, are lagging behind their rivals when it comes to capitalizing on Internet technologies.

Survey finds US competitive ranking down again

September 5, 2012

(AP)—The United States' ability to compete on the global stage has fallen for the fourth year running as confidence in the country's politicians continues to decline, an annual survey from the World Economic Forum found ...

Recommended for you

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.