As the world still struggles to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and its dire consequences, there is no doubt that technology has fundamentally reshaped our day to day lives. Technology has changed how children are taught, jobs are created, health services are delivered, traders do business, farmers get access to information, financial services are delivered, and the list goes on. Technology has enabled us to stay connected socially, professionally and as consumers. Innovations that were nascent or slow to pick up are now integrated into our everyday lives, while also shaping new pathways to progress and development.
Despite the positive and promising outcomes that have and are continuing to emerge, there is a growing concern that such outcomes will not be inclusive; particularly for the underserved communities in the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). During the COVID-19 response, many LDCs were not able to pivot their economies and education systems online and marginalized populations like women, youth, migrants, people with disabilities and smallholder farmers suffered and are still suffering the most.
In this paper, the UNCDF team shares its analysis and use cases that feed our vision of building digital economies in LDCs that leave no one behind. This analysis and vision are built on our growing experience in digital services, in collaboration with multiple partners from the public and the private sector as well as international organizations and the UN system.