UK unveils digital development strategy to bridge global technological gap

Led by Development Minister Andrew Mitchell, the plan focuses on improving connectivity, supporting AI innovation, and empowering women and girls online.

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A new UK digital development strategy was released to ensure everyone, particularly those in low-income countries, can benefit from the digital world. It aims to bridge the technology gap and protect women and girls from online dangers. The strategy focuses on improving connectivity and lowering barriers for AI innovators in developing nations.

The plan, led by Development Minister Andrew Mitchell, emphasizes four key areas: ensuring internet access in remote areas, supporting national digital services, promoting AI research and regulation, and empowering women and girls in the digital sphere. The goal is to enhance global digital inclusion and minimize risks associated with rapid technological advancements.

Why does it matter?

Digital technologies can contribute to global development by, for example, expanding access to the digital economy and improving health research efficiency. Despite these advancements, 2.6 billion people lack internet access globally, with a significant gender gap—women are about 20% less likely to access the internet via mobile phones, particularly in poorer countries. While the UK can provide leadership and support to address these challenges, expanding internet access and promoting AI innovation may not be sufficient. Ensuring sustainable development for these nations will likely require significant investments in domestic infrastructure and technical expertise.