Millennium Development Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Target: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
Access to information and communication technologies continues to outpace global economic growth. The number of subscribers to fixed and mobile telephones rose from 530 million in 1990 to almost 3 billion (about half of the world’s population) in 2004. Growth has been especially rapid in the mobile sector, which offers access to telecommunications in regions where there is a limited number of fixed lines. In 2004, Africa added some 15 million new mobile phone subscribers. This figure is equivalent to the total number of fixed and mobile telephone subscribers on the continent in 1996.
By the end of 2004, 14 per cent of the world’s population were using the Internet, with a large digital divide separating developed and developing regions: Over half the population in developed regions had access to the Internet, compared to 7 per cent in developing regions and less than 1 per cent in the 50 least developed countries.
Source: UN DESA, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2006, New York, June 2006.