from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – THE number of people not connected to the internet worldwide decreased to an estimated 2,6 billion people in 2023.
This is according to the latest data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The reduction from the estimated 2,7 billion people offline in 2022 leaves 33 percent of the global population unconnected.
Sixty-seven percent of the world’s population, or 5,4 billion people, are now online.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General, said this improvement in connectivity is another step in the right direction, and one more step towards leaving no one behind in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“We won’t rest until we live in a world where meaningful connectivity is a lived reality for everyone, everywhere,” she said.
According to early estimates, growth in internet connectivity remains the strongest in low-income countries where data indicate that internet users increased by about 17 percent over the past year.
However, less than one-third of individuals are connected to the internet in these countries.
“We must not forget that behind this data are people who are not able to access the Internet and enjoy the life-changing benefits that it can bring in the era of digital transformation,” said Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.
The latest global estimates confirm that the double-digit growth in internet connectivity observed at the 2020 peak of the COVID-19 pandemic was short-lived.
Current trends are not strong enough to guarantee that the objective of universal and meaningful connectivity will be met by 2030.
– CAJ News