ITU releases its annual flagship facts and figures 2020 report with special focus on small island developing states and landlocked developing countries

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) released its annual flagship report ‘Measuring digital development: Facts and figures 2020’, which covers for the first time estimates on Internet access in small island developing states (SIDS) and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). The research revealed that about a quarter of the population in least developed countries (LDCs) and LLDCs and about 15% of the population in SIDS do not have access to a mobile-broadband network. This means that they fall short of sustainable development goals target 9.c to significantly increase access to information and communication technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in LDCs by 2020. For example, while 38% of youth are using the Internet in LDCs, the overall share of people using it stands at 19%. On the other hand, while nearly all young people are using the Internet in developed countries, the highest youth/overall ratio is present in Asia and the Pacific. ‘How much longer can we tolerate the significant gap in household connectivity between urban and rural areas. In the age of COVID-19, where so many are working and studying from home, this edition of Measuring Digital Development: Facts and figures sends the clear message that accelerating infrastructure roll-out is one of the most urgent and defining issues of our time,’ commented ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.