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Policy Contribution

Digital Infrastructure

Overcoming the digital divide in emerging economies

by Ben Shenglin / Felice Simonelli / Zhang Ruidong / Romain Bosc / Li Wenwei
04 April 2017

Digital Infrastructure

Overcoming the digital divide in emerging economies

Ben Shenglin / Felice Simonelli / Zhang Ruidong / Romain Bosc / Li Wenwei

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Ever since the internet first began to be commercialised globally in the 1990s, the debate on how to close the digital divide has attracted widespread attention. This Policy Brief reviews the literature on the digital divide in emerging economies with a view to explaining: 1) how internet connectivity promotes social and economic inclusiveness, efficiency and innovation; 2) why the physical access to the internet alone is insufficient to capture the full benefits of digital technology and what other social conditions should be considered; and 3) how to further connect the unconnected population.

This contribution, prepared by a team of specialists on global digital policies, was commissioned by the German Presidency of the G20 and published 3 April 2017 as a “G20 Insight” on its website at http://www.g20-insights.org/policy_briefs/digital-infrastructure-overcoming-digital-divide-emerging-economies/  It is republished on the CEPS website with the kind permission of the German Presidency.

Ben Shenglin is at Zhejiang University, Academy of Internet Finance; Felice Simonelli is Research Fellow at CEPS; Zhang Ruidong is at Zhejiang University, Academy of Internet Finance; Romain Bosc is Research Assistant at CEPS; and Li Wenwei is at Zhejiang University, Academy of Internet Finance.

About the Authors


  • Author
    Ben Shenglin
    Ben Shenglin
  • Author
    Felice Simonelli Felice Simonelli
    Felice Simonelli
  • Author
    Zhang Ruidong
    Zhang Ruidong
  • Author
    Romain Bosc
    Romain Bosc
    Research Assistant
  • Author
    Li Wenwei
    Li Wenwei
Digital Infrastructure Overcoming the digital divide in emerging economies
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2440 Downloads