Internet Users Now 3.2 Billion, says World Bank

The World Bank has said that the number of internet users globally had more than tripled within this decade, from 1billion in 2015 to about 3.2billion by the end of 2015.

The World Bank disclosed this in its Report for 2016, made available during the presentation of the World Development Report (WDR 2016 ) on Digital Dividends.

The report revealed that more households in Nigeria and other developing nations owned a mobile phone rather than have access to electricity or clean water. According to the report, an estimated 70 percent of the bottom fifth of the population in developing nations could boast of owning a cell phone.

It added: “The number of internet users has more than tripled in a decade-from 1billion in 2005 to an estimated 3.2billion at the end of 2015, stating that businesses, people, and governments are more connected than ever before.”

Furthermore, it said that digital revolution had brought immediate private benefits-easier communication and information, greater convenience, free digital products and new forms of leisure, adding it has also created a profound sense of social connectedness and global community.

“More households in developing countries own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water, and nearly 70 percent of the bottom fifth of the population in developing countries own a mobile phone,” it said.

The report also explained that maximising digital dividends would require better understanding of how technology interacted with other factors that were important for development, describing it as “analog complements.”

It also said that digital technology could make routine, transaction-intensive tasks cheaper, faster and more convenient, adding, however, that most tasks also had an aspect that could be automated, requiring human judgment, intuition and discretion.

The report, however stressed that digital divide was still large, adding that nearly 60 percent of the world’s people were still offline and could not fully take part in the digital economy.

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