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UN calls for government cooperation to address digital divide in APAC

Kirsty Styles

The UN's Economics and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP) has said that fixed and mobile internet is transforming the region into a knowledge-based society, but infrastructure problems mean some are being left behind.
“Asia-Pacific is the most technologically divided region in the world and the divide is, in effect, several divides in one. Inequalities in geography, income, education and age are all important aspects – holding us back as a region, and slowing development,” said the UN's under-secretary on information and communications technologies, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer.

According to ESCAP, only 24.9 per cent of residents in the Asian and Pacific region had access to the internet in 2011, much lower than North America, where the figure is 78.4 per cent, Europe at 68 per cent, and Latin America and the Caribbean at 32.7 per cent. Only 6 per cent of the region’s population in developing countries has access to high-speed broadband.