Billions remain unconnected to the Internet, says GA President

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President of the General Assembly’s sixty-seventh session Vuk Jeremić. [UN Photo/JC McIlwaine]

Despite the progress that has been made in accessing the Internet in developing countries, billions of people remain unconnected, according to the President of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremić.

Mr. Jeremić spoke at a Panel Discussion on "Improving Connectivity in Eurasia" organized by the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations on Wednesday.

He said one- fifth of all households in developing countries are now hooked up to the Internet, up from 13 per cent just a couple of years ago.

"This is a significant achievement, but much more needs to be done in order to overcome the digital divide with the developed world, where 78 percent of homes are linked to the internet—many through affordable and reliable broadband networks. This means that billions still do not have access to information and knowledge-sharing that would help them improve their livelihoods. They remain unconnected to the globalized, digital society of the 21st century. An overwhelming majority of them are poor." (29")

Vuk Jeremić warned that the gaps between the poor and rich are widening, noting that over the past 20 years, disparities between high and low income states have nearly doubled.

He said information and communication technologies or ICTs can help reverse these trends through what he called a "leapfrog effect" that allows the poorest "to bypass a number of time-consuming steps on the road to prosperity."

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’33″

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