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Achieving Universal and Affordable Internet in the Least Developed Countries

ICTs, LDCs and the SDGs

image of Achieving Universal and Affordable Internet in the Least Developed Countries

This report provides insights into the great strides that Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have made in regard to information and communication technology access, and the opportunities that ICTs offer in addressing severe structural impediments to sustainable development in this group of countries. Today, there is a clear recognition of the importance of information and communication technologies. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that “the spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies”.

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Progress towards achieving SDG 9.C

This chapter reviews the level of progress the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have made towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9.C, to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet and forecasts where LDCs will stand in respect to the goal's deadline of 2020. Achievement is dependent on infrastructure and affordability but will also require the development of human skills. The chapter reviews how imbalances among these three factors can affect access and take up of the Internet. It highlights that, given that the deadline for completion is in about three years time, there is a need to accelerate growth. The progress of individual LDCs in reaching SDG 9.C is categorized into different levels. LDCs that have been successful in rapidly improving network infrastructure, pricing and skills are highlighted, including the policies that influenced this. The chapter concludes with recommendations for accelerating progress to achieve SDG 9.C.

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