Leveraging Digital Connectivity for Post-COVID Competitiveness and Recovery
By Nick Ashton-Hart
Digitisation is integral to more than 15 per cent of global GDP and rising dramatically year-on-year (UNCTAD, 2019). By 2022/2023, it is estimated this could be more than 50 per cent.1 Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the internet was transforming the world economy. However, various studies consistently show that the majority of digitisation’s benefits flow to traditional businesses, reinforcing the importance for traditional ‘brick and mortar’ companies to embrace digitisation to improve competitiveness and build recovery and resilience.
Even if these projections are only half correct, that still means a quarter of the world economy, and a larger proportion with each year that passes, will be increasingly inaccessible to companies of all sizes without affordable connectivity and a skilled workforce. As the proportion of digitisation-dependent economic activity grows, the 29 Commonwealth member countries with less than half their citizens online (see Annex) become correspondingly more disadvantaged.