Why Digital Technology?

Digital technology describes the increasing information intensity and connectedness of physical resources. It includes the tools, systems and services that support the generation, collection, storage, sharing and analysis of data. It also has several unique advantages over earlier forms of infrastructure, relating to access and participation, delivering essential services, and reducing costs and expanding services.


The rapid and widespread deployment of digital technology to some of the poorest parts of the world has radically improved access and participation. In 2015, there were 271 mobile money services across 93 countries and 411 million registered mobile money accounts, providing a pathway to financial access for many previously unbanked people.


Connectivity provides platforms to deliver services such as health, education, and energy in new ways. Mobile phones have improved food security by giving farmers access to market information, harvesting, irrigation and logistics support, helping to increase yield, reduce waste and improve productivity. Connectivity is an important tool for strengthening governance. For example, in Mozambique, SMS messages increased voter turnout and enabled citizens to report electoral irregularities leading up to elections in November 2013.


Digital technology can reduce the cost of deploying and expanding services. Digital can expand access to low-cost community health workers, enabling diagnoses and treatments at local level rather than high-cost facilities. This means that 1.6 billion people could be connected to e-health services in 2030, moving the world closer to universal health coverage. Critically, digital technology enables the collection and analysis of vast amounts of rich data, which facilitates the expansion of services to better serve core societal needs.

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