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Bridging the digital divide

February 8, 2021

Digitalization is changing the whole world and as it expands around the globe, it has a crucial component of successful participation in society and economy. Our latest Roland Berger study is focusing on digital inclusion, which empowers individuals and a society to effectively use ICT and also explains what happens if countries do not address it.

Overall digital inclusion is crucial to create an equitable and sustainable digital society and to facilitate personal income growth and macro-economic development. Nevertheless, a study published by the UN in 2019, stated that half of the world's population is still offline and has no access to a digital environment. These numbers negatively affect the socio-economically disadvantaged individuals and groups, such as low-income households.

According to the study, digital inclusion acts as an economic enabler as digitalization offers new opportunities to increase revenues, labor productivity and employment, but further, it also serves as a social equalizer by democratizing education or the diversity of opinions. On top of that the pandemic has taught us that the need of digital inclusion has increased sharply as many parts of the daily business have been shifted to online modes.

For this study Roland Berger developed a Digital Inclusion Index (RB DII) to simplify the analysis of digital inclusiveness in countries. It consist of 82 emerging and developed countries on four key levers: accessibility, affordability, ability and attitude. The analysis shows that all countries, except Sudan, saw an increase in their overall digital inclusion score between 2017 and 2020.

To improve digital inclusion, policy makers paly a key role. According to the study it is important to follow seven key drivers.

1. TMT infrastructure development to enable universal access
2. Digital content creation to support greater engagement
3. Regulation reform and wholesale open access to promote competitive pricing
4. Public access to connect and assist the financially challenged
5. Active learning support to build digital literacy and skills
6. Awareness and usage campaigning to enhance enthusiasm for digital
7. Safe digital environment to ease security fears

To follow this framework and start a successful transformation, the lacking resources and need to be identified by. Overall, digital inclusion is a critical priority for countries across the world, which needs a special focus to avoid falling further behind in the digital race.


Link RB corporte website


John Low, Partner

Damien Dujacquier, Partner

Sulina Kaur, Principal