Global Efforts Needed to Accelerate Digital Economy Benefits: UN Report Says

Concerted global efforts are required to spread the rapidly expanding digital economy’s gains to many people who currently reap little benefit from it, according to the first-ever United Nations Digital Economy Report 2019 released on September 4, 2019.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Report maps the flow, data and funds in the world’s digital economy.

According to the report, digital wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few US and Chinese based platforms.

The report noted that 40 percent of the world’s 20 largest companies by market capitalization have a platform-based business model.

Coordinator of African Trade Policy Center at ECA, David Luke, said countries in Africa and Latin America are considerably far behind in digital economy, state-run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported on Wednesday.

The coordinator, who pointed out that wealth creation in the digital economy is highly concentrated in the United States and China, added that the two countries account for 75 percent of all patents related to block chain technologies, 50 percent of global spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) and 90 percent of the market capitalization value of the world’s through 70 digital platform companies.

Noting that digital access to digital economy has already led to the creation of enormous wealth in the record time, Luke stated that this is highly concentrated in a small number of countries, companies and individuals.

The coordinator underscored the need for inclusivity to build a digital economy that delivers for all, calling for greater global cooperation to avoid widening the income gap.

Luke stressed, “We must work to close the digital divide and harness its potential for the many and not just the few. This requires creative thinking and policy experimentation.”