According to the report Facts and figures ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT), the Internet has become more affordable in all regions of the world and for all population groups regardless of their income level.
However, the cost of the Internet remains a major barrier to Internet access, especially in low-income economies. The current global economic situation, characterized by high inflation, rising interest rates and high uncertainty, may make it even more difficult to achieve the goal of expanding Internet coverage in low-income areas.
“The Internet may be more affordable overall, but for billions of people around the world, this technology is still just as inaccessible,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “We need to ensure that internet affordability continues to move in the right direction, even as the global economic downturn weighs increasingly on the economic prospects of many countries.”
Earlier in the year, the ITU reported that 2.7 billion people, or about a third of the world’s population, were still not connected to the Internet, which is an improvement over 2021. But it represents a step back from the considerable progress that was made in connection at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 and at the height of the crisis.
“Internet access is advancing, but not as quickly and equally around the world as it should be,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and Secretary-General-elect of the ITU- of. “Those who do not have access to digital are still many. The challenge we face is to mobilize the resources that would enable everyone to benefit effectively from the connection”.
Inequalities between men and women
Although women represent almost half of the world’s population, they are 259 million fewer than men with Internet access. According to the report Facts and figures for 2022, only 63% of women use the Internet in 2022, compared to 69% of men. The gender gap is even more worrying in low-income countries, where 21% of women are online, compared to 32% of men, a figure that has not improved since 2019.
Overall, the world has moved closer to gender equality over the past three years. We speak of gender equality when the percentage of female Internet users divided by the percentage of male Internet users is between 0.98 and 1.02. The score for gender equality has thus improved, from 0.90 in 2019 to 0.92 in 2022.
In general, the regions with the highest internet usage also have the highest gender equality scores. Conversely, many of the least developed and most vulnerable economies around the world are characterized by low internet usage, a low gender equality score and limited progress towards gender equality over the past three years.