Concerted global efforts are needed to spread the rapidly expanding digital economy's gains to the many people who reap little benefit from it, a new United Nations report said Wednesday.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released its first-ever Digital Economy Report 2019 that maps the flow, data, and funds in the world's digital economy.
Wealth creation in the digital economy is highly concentrated in the United States and China, with the rest of the world, especially countries in Africa and Latin America, trailing considerably far behind, said the report.
It outlines gains and possible development costs as more of the world moves, connects, and buys online.
The U.S. and China account for 75 percent of all patents related to blockchain technologies, 50 percent of global spending on the Internet of Things (IoT), more than 75 percent of the cloud computing market and as much as 90 percent of the market capitalization value of the world's 70 largest digital platform companies, according to the report.
"We must work to close the digital divide, where more than half the world has limited or no access to the Internet. Inclusivity is essential to building a digital economy that delivers for all," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the report.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said: "We need to respond to the desire of people in developing countries to take part in the new digital world not only as users and consumers, but also as producers, exporters, and innovators."
Domestic and international policies should go beyond enlisting more developing-country users and consumers online. They should also enable the building of domestic capabilities to create and capture value, said the report.