During the past 15 years, abundant research, international conferences and declarations have underlined the importance of tackling digital exclusion and fostering ICT and broadband diffusion, especially in the LDCs. As it is the case for other types of infrastructure and services, the availability of ICTs is a key factor in explaining progress, or lack of progress, towards the MDGs.
Over the past decade, the rise in mobile cellular subscriptions has been extraordinary in both developed and developing countries. The number of Internet users has also risen sharply, but it remains very low in LDCs (around 6 per cent). Also, major differences remain in terms of quantity and quality of broadband access. Low levels of Internet connectivity and digital inequality are key challenges, and broadband access can act as a powerful accelerator towards the MDGs, by boosting access to key services, especially in sparsely populated areas, as well as fostering financial inclusion and territorial inclusion.
UNCDF is supporting digital inclusion across LDCs by mobilizing investment for ICTs infrastructure and connectivity. UNCDF is also using ICTs to boost knowledge-sharing and technical assistance among LDCs, and using ICTs to boost internal knowledge-sharing within the organization.