EPP Group believes that digitalisation and technological innovation are strong drivers of sustainable development and inclusive growth
"Digitalisation is a strong driver of development. Digital technologies and capabilities are crucial for alleviating poverty by improving the competitiveness of economies and reducing unemployment. The European Commission and Member States need to ensure sufficient funding to streamline digital technologies into all aspects of development policy”, said Bogdan Wenta MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman in the European Parliament’s Development Committee and author of the Report on Digitalisation for Development which was adopted today by the committee.
The text follows up on the European Commission's document released last year entitled Digital4Development: mainstreaming digital technologies and services into EU development policy, and the announcement of the European Commission’s strategy on mainstreaming digitalisation into EU development policy.
According to the latest studies, more than half of the world’s population is still offline while at the same time, the number of mobile users is surpassing the number of people with access to electricity, sanitation or clean water. At a time when digitalisation is growing exponentially, this lack of access is a major challenge to development as it continues to widen gaps and inequalities in the world.
As pointed out in the Report, e-commerce can pave the way to better jobs and greater equality. ICT tools can be used for information dissemination during natural disasters and emergencies. Digital technologies can enable low income and vulnerable communities to have access to quality basic services such as health, education, water and electricity, as well as to humanitarian relief and other public and private services.
Finally, new technologies can also benefit the agricultural sector - the largest sector of the economy in Africa.
“Digitalisation and technological innovation are strong drivers of sustainable development and inclusive growth, with a huge potential to reduce poverty, create jobs, increase competitiveness and even facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance. Bridging the digital divide must be given a central role in all development policies: not just as a stand-alone policy, but mainstreamed into every other policy area. Affordable access to broadband connectivity must be the basis for any such effort. Europe can contribute to achieving this goal”, concluded Wenta.