Digital Progress and Trends Report 2023

Digitalization is the transformational opportunity of our time. The digital sector has become a powerhouse of innovation, economic growth, and job creation. Value added in the IT services sector grew at 8 percent annually during 2000–22, nearly twice as fast as the global economy. Employment growth in IT services reached 7 percent annually, six times higher than total employment growth. The diffusion and adoption of digital technologies are just as critical as their invention. Digital uptake has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1.5 billion new internet users added from 2018 to 2022. The share of firms investing in digital solutions around the world has more than doubled from 2020 to 2022. Low-income countries, vulnerable populations, and small firms, however, have been falling behind, while transformative digital innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) have been accelerating in higher-income countries. Although more than 90 percent of the population in high-income countries was online in 2022, only one in four people in low-income countries used the internet, and the speed of their connection was typically only a small fraction of that in wealthier countries. As businesses in technologically advanced countries integrate generative AI into their products and services, less than half of the businesses in many low- and middle-income countries have an internet connection. The growing digital divide is exacerbating the poverty and productivity gaps between richer and poorer economies. The Digital Progress and Trends Report series will track global digitalization progress and highlight policy trends, debates, and implications for low- and middle-income countries. The series adds to the global efforts to study the progress and trends of digitalization in two main ways: · By compiling, curating, and analyzing data from diverse sources to present a comprehensive picture of digitalization in low- and middle-income countries, including in-depth analyses on understudied topics. · By developing insights on policy opportunities, challenges, and debates and reflecting the perspectives of various stakeholders and the World Bank’s operational experiences. This report, the first in the series, aims to inform evidence-based policy making and motivate action among internal and external audiences and stakeholders. The report will bring global attention to high-performing countries that have valuable experience to share as well as to areas where efforts will need to be redoubled.
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World Bank. 2024. Digital Progress and Trends Report 2023. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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