1. VOA Standard English
  2. VOA Standard English Archives
  1. Technology Report
  2. This is America
  3. Science in the News
  4. Health Report
  5. Education Report
  6. Economics Report
  7. American Mosaic
  8. In the News
  9. American Stories
  10. Words And Their Stories
  11. Trending Today
  12. AS IT IS
  13. Everyday Grammar
  14. America's National Parks
  15. America's Presidents
  16. Agriculture Report
  17. Explorations
  18. U.S. History
  19. People in America
  1. Learning English Videos
  2. English in a Minute
  3. English @ the Movies
  4. News Words
  5. Everyday Grammar TV
  1. Bilingual News
  2. Learn A Word
  3. Words And Idioms
  4. English in a Minute
  5. How to Say it
  6. Business Etiquette
  7. American English Mosaic
  8. Popular American
  9. Sports English
  10. Go English
  11. Wordmaster
  12. American Cafe
  13. Intermediate American Enlish
  14. America's Presidents

Internet Use Expanding in Least Developed Countries

04 February, 2018

It can be difficult to live in the 21st century without using the internet, a smartphone or other digital device.

A new report shows that electronic banking, internet marketing and other online activities are no longer just for people in rich countries.

The report comes from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations. It notes that hundreds of millions of people in the world's poorest countries are now using the internet and mobile technology.

FILE - A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, January 10, 2014.
FILE - A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, January 10, 2014.

The ITU said that all 47 of the world's least developed countries are making progress in increasing Internet access to their citizens. And more than 60 percent of the people there are able to use a 3G network. The term 3G means the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunication technology.

The report said that by the end of 2017, about 700 million people in the least developed countries had signed up for a plan with a mobile phone service provider. In those areas, 80 percent of the population lives within range of a mobile cellular network.

Given this progress, the ITU praised the growth of digital technology. It said the world's least developed countries are on their way to meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goal on universal and affordable Internet access by 2020.

Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell is with the ITU. She told VOA that digital connectivity can provide valuable knowledge and information to populations around the world.

"It gives farmers access to information on crops, when to plant their crops, weather patterns that are happening. It provides access to online education to communities...It can make micro- and small- and medium-sized enterprises be able to compete with larger businesses."

The ITU said universal and low-cost internet access can help the poorest countries move forward in fields like education, health and trade.

While the findings sound hopeful, the report identified the lack of digital skills as a barrier to information communication technology and Internet use in poor areas.

The ITU called on policy makers, industry leaders and educators to work together to increase digital skills across the least developed countries.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Lisa Schlein reported this story for VOANews. George Grow adapted her report for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

mobileadj. of or related to something that can be moved

accessn. permission or ability to enter or use something

networkn. a group of computers; a group of radio or television stations

rangen. the space included or covered

universaladj. including or covering all

affordableadj. low-priced; having a cost that is not high

patternn. something designed or used as a model

enterprisen. a business or company

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.