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World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends

WDR-2016-coverThe World Development Report 2016, published by the World Bank Group, focuses this year on the ways in which the Internet can be used to promote development, especially in the case of less advantaged areas.

The continuously increasing rates of penetration of digital technologies in everyday life, as long as their rapid diffusion to developing countries, constitute an extremely interesting aspect of human development. While in their vast majority these transformations are beneficial to society, in some cases rapid changes are disruptive, creating winners but also losers.

The 2016 WDR will argue that the internet has made the world smaller and the world economy bigger but that it also risks making societies more unequal and life more intrusive.

It is pointed out  that digital technologies affect human development through three main mechanisms: inclusion, efficiency and innovation. More specifically, Sector Focus 4 regarding Smart Cities highlights the fact that the data explosion will slowly give rise to a “science of cities’. Under this framework, city leaders can speed up this process by turning their cities into laboratories for smart innovations that translate local experiments.


However, a significant digital divide still remains between and within countries, indicating inequalities between different geographical and social groups. In many cases, digital technologies tend to be productivity, skill and voice biased, thus limiting the benefits emerging from this revolution to society as a whole.


Find the full report here.