LDCs on track in achieving universal and affordable Internet

KAMPALA, Uganda–Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are recording impressive progress toward achieving United Nations  Sustainable  Development  Goal(SDG)9  on increasing access to information and communication technologies (ICTs)  the New report released  by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)has said.

The report titled ICTs, LDCs and the SDGs: Achieving universal and affordable Internet in the least developed countries, notes that all 47 LDCs have launched 3G services and over 60 per cent of their population are covered by a 3G network. These countries are also on track to reach on average 97 per cent mobile broadband coverage and to make Internet prices relatively affordable by 2020.

 According to the ITU report by the end of 2017, the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions in LDCs had increased to about 700 million, with a penetration of 70 per cent. At the same time, more than 80 per cent of the population in LDCs live within range of a mobile cellular network. 

The report examines, in detail, progress that LDCs have made in achieving SDG 9.c, which seeks to "significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strives at providing universal and affordable access to the internet in least developed countries by 2020." 

It indicates that ICTs have led to significant development outcomes in LDCs, in particular in the areas of financial inclusion, poverty reduction and improved health. 

"Information and communication technologies are transforming lives everywhere and offering vast opportunities for advances in sustainable development," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. 

The report comes at time when some least developing countries  like Uganda is finalising the switching to 4G networks which has improved  the quality of Internet connectivity in the country.