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Developing Mobile Digital Skills in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Acquiring digital skills, and mobile digital skills, in particular, is critical for people in low- and middle-income countries to participate in a rapidly digitalising society. However, the GSMA’s The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2021 identified a lack of literacy and digital skills as one of the biggest perceived barriers to mobile internet adoption among mobile users who are aware of the internet but don’t use it.

The GSMA has published a range of research and materials on mobile digital skills. This report summarises all the key insights and learnings into one short report with four practical steps. These are relevant for any actors wanting to implement mobile digital skills training in low- and middle-income countries or wanting to better understand what works:

  • Understand people’s needs, goals and aspirations;
  • Understand how people learn mobile digital skills;
  • Use a framework to map key digital competencies and proficiency levels; and
  • Measure mobile digital skills.

Broad-based digital skills acquisition has the potential to overcome barriers to digital inclusion for underserved populations. This report is relevant for any organisation seeking to address the mobile digital skills barrier and develop strategies and interventions to support underserved populations in unlocking this potential.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.