The digital divide and COVID-19: Impact on the socioeconomic development in Asia and the Pacific

The UN report focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on socio-economic development in Asia and the Pacific. It highlights the need for international organizations to promote digitalization awareness and encourage sharing of best practices among member states. Recommendations include updating digital transformation strategies, enhancing ICT infrastructure, and incentivizing online services. Private sectors are urged to bridge digital gaps, expand network coverage, improve quality in remote areas, fast-track digital transformation, and boost resilience during the pandemic.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) released a report examining the impact of covid-19 on the socio-economic development in Asia and the Pacific. Despite that COVID-19 crisis has promoted coordination and cooperation among countries where ESCAP and member States have been working together to enhance regional. For this reason, the report pinpoints some policy recommendations to overcome them. For ESCAP and other international organisations, they are advised to help member states by raising the awareness on the importance of digitalisation, and providing a platform to encourage member countries to share experiences and best practices. For member countries, they should develop and update the digital transformation vision, strategy, policy, and roadmap, support information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure development, and incentivise internet and online services development. As for the private sector and other stakeholders, the recommendations are to develop a set of measures to narrow digital gaps, enlarge the network coverage, improve network quality in rural and remote areas, accelerate digital transformation, and enhance resilience during the pandemic.