Digitization affects society in new and fundamental ways. It changes the way individuals and companies communicate and interact with each other. It also provides guidelines for the relationship between public and private activities. In addition, digitalisation affects relations between states.
- How far has digitalisation come in developing countries?
- How can digitalisation contribute to better living conditions in developing countries?
- What problem can digitalisation in developing countries pose?
- What new challenges does digitalisation entail for development aid?
Established social frameworks at all these levels – public, private and international – are creaking in the joints as a result of the digital revolution and the rapid digitalisation . International organizations and states are struggling to follow up the rapid technological development with new norms, measures, schemes and regulations. Social sectors such as the economy, security and the judiciary are already thoroughly involved when it comes to digitalisation in states such as Norway and in international organizations such as the EU, NATO and the UN. One of the newer additions to this strain of sectors is development assistance .
2: New forms of vulnerability
Digitization provides guidelines on how donor land (donor land) can contribute effectively with sustainable assistance. Donorland and international organizations such as the World Bank, the UN and the EU are already well on their way to stimulating economic growth and development by investing in digitalisation and Internet connection for developing countries ( See the World Bank report Digital Dividends 2016 ).
There is widespread agreement that the need to connect developing countries to digital networks is crucial to prevent the digital divide between rich and poor countries from becoming even greater than it already is. But in the shadow of digitalisation and economic growth, new forms of social vulnerability are also emerging .
Digitization without a focus on security helps to create new opportunities for actors with evil intentions. Developing countries often have weak states, institutions and regulations and are therefore particularly vulnerable to being used by malicious actors. At the same time, the effects of malicious use are not limited by national borders. Cyberspace knows no bounds. In other words, developing countries are particularly attractive as host countries for illegal servers (in English called bullet-proof hosting ).
Such servers are operated by actors who are beyond the reach of state law enforcement and thus enable online crime to the rest of the world.
Another type of vulnerability that develops in parallel with the digitalisation of developing countries arises from the rapidly increasing number of computers connected to the Internet being followed up to a small extent with antivirus programs and other security measures. Many of these computers are infected with viruses and malware (malicious software) and are easy targets for botnets. This means malware that infects a network of thousands of computers. The sender of a botnet can then take control of the computers, or a selection of them, and give them various orders without the owners noticing. Motives for creating such botnets can be commercial, military, information gathering etc.
A third type of vulnerability in developing countries arises because these countries lack the resources to establish institutions and legislation that can prevent and deter cybercrime. This also contributes to making them attractive as host countries for such crime.
According to HEALTH-BEAUTY-GUIDES, digitization of developing countries can lead to greater openness and more democracy. But it can also be a useful tool for authoritarian regimes, which with digitalisation will have increased opportunities for surveillance and repression. These vulnerabilities are often overlooked when it comes to digitization in developing countries. Therefore, donor countries should take a closer look at this field by, among other things, supporting knowledge development, institution building and attitude campaigns in developing countries.
3: Digitization and development benefits
Digital technology brings people closer together and gives communication, information, interaction and trade new legs to stand on. In this way, it supports most social, economic and political development goals.
Digitization will make public and private offers and services more accessible to people in rural and poor areas in developing countries. Digitization offers more people new economic and social opportunities. For entrepreneurs in Mozambique or Tanzania, it will be easier to run a store when they can receive and transfer money digitally. Opportunity to obtain and compare prices in different markets can also help farmers, fishermen, artisans and small businesses to get better paid for their goods.
When these opportunities are taken advantage of, it can contribute to increased growth and productivity. Fishermen in Kerala (India) increased their profits by 8 percent after they could obtain market information (fish price) via mobile phone. Farmers in Argentina experienced something similar when they could digitally track livestock. That there are connections between digital technology and growth is statistically shown. The increasing degree of digitalisation is closely linked to growth in gross domestic product (GDP) .