The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said that coronavirus pandemic has brought in a digital gap between countries and societies. The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the wide chasm between the connected and the unconnected world.
In the new analysis, UNCTAD also revealed that the recent pandemic has pushed everyone into a digital world. The changes will have lasting effects even when the economy starts to bloom. However, the analysis says that everyone is not ready to embrace the digital world. However, it said that the crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, services and tools and speeding up global transition.
UNCTAD’s technology and logistics director Shamika Sirimanne said that the situation has significant development implications. She said that those who are less digitally quipped should not be left out.
The analysis showcases how technology is used as a critical tool in maintaining business and life continuity. The governments as well as businesses have moved their services and operations online. This is because of social distancing in the wake of coronavirus. Moreover digital platforms have also thrived with many turning to entertainment, markets, news, shopping and other activities on the net. Srimanne said that these were positives emerging trends that showed the potential of a digitally transformed world.
Online education, telework and telemedicine have shown an upward trend during the period of the epidemic, she said. Moreover, there is much information exchange that is taking place.
With more people forced into online, UNCTAD’s digital economy head Torbjörn Fredriksson said that those who have no access are at risk of being left further behind. He noted that the Least Developed Countries are the worst hit. As per reports, only one in five people in Least Developed Countries use the Internet. In developing countries, only below five per cent of the population use the Net to buy goods or services. Moreover, lack of Internet at home also limits connectivity, Sirimanne said.
She said that more developing countries are exploring e-commerce and other digital solutions to build local resilience to future shocks.
The UNCTAD said that attention should be for bridging the gap between existing and emerging digital divides. The focus should be for creating an atmosphere for more countries to take the advantage of digitalization. It also called for new policies to ensure a fair distribution of gains from digital disruptions.