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Digital divide should not get increasingly deeper

(People's Daily Online)

08:44, May 27, 2013

According to the latest data of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), about two thirds of the world population, or 4.5 billion people, do not have access to the Internet.
The wide range of the Internet has promoted the process of economic globalization and has brought new development opportunity for developing countries. But with the increasingly deepening of the digital divide, developing countries are facing new challenges when they try to improve living environment and global status.

The digital divide refers to the gap between information haves and have-nots. The latest data released by the ITU shows 77 percent of people in developed countries enjoying fixed broadband Internet service but in developing countries only 31 percent have access to the service. What’s more, about 4.5 billion people in the world have no access to the Internet.

The digital divide brings about two aspects of unbalance. First, it results in many information have-nots. Lack of information resources means being away from chances to create wealth. Second, the strength contrast of public opinion is with great disparity. The progress of information communication technology will make the strong stronger, the weak weaker.

The imbalance in the distribution of global wealth is intrinsically linked with the imbalanced information distribution. Poverty is not just the scarcity of wealth; it also implies a shortage of information. The Internet use standards determine the knowledge component of a country's economic structure to a certain extent. Digital divide has aggravated the gap between economic development. It may have a negative impact for people to grasp the objective truth in the world today.

In recent years, the process of poverty eradication has made remarkable progress worldwide, even faster than many economists had predicted before. The Plan of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to reduce the number of people living in absolute poverty by half by 2015 was achieved ahead of schedule in 2010 in developing countries.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have planned to eliminate extreme global poverty in 2030. However, the gap between the virtual world and the real world is the same. To make poverty eradication more sustainable, we must reduce the digital divide to prevent people from going back into poverty.

Digital divide cannot get deeper; especially the vicious circle of ‘the poor get poorer, the rich get richer’ should be eliminated. Therefore, the monopoly of developed countries needs to be broken, and technical and financial support should be given to developing countries. Keeping more people from being marginalized by information will not only be conducive to narrowing the development gap between North and South, but also has a positive effect on rebalancing the global economy.

Edited and translated by Ma Xi, People's Daily Online
Read the Chinese version: “数字鸿沟”不能越来越深
Source: People's Daily

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:MaXi、Yao Chun)

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