Measuring digital development

Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries

March 2023

International Telecommunication Union
Telecommunication Development Sector

Share this:

ITU’s Measuring digital development – Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries looks at the state of digital connectivity in the LDCs, as a contribution to the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5). Based on Measuring Digital Development: Facts and Figures 2022, it shows a series of the most important ICT indicators, going back where possible to 2011 to show progress of LDCs achieved during the Istanbul Program of Action, agreed at LDC-IV. At the same time, the publication informs on the attainment of SDG Target 9c, which aims to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020”. New compared with Facts and Figures 2022 is an analysis showing the great diversity within the group of 46 LDCs. The publication also contains some tables with country-level data, including affordability data for 2022 not published before.

The analysis shows that universal and meaningful connectivity – the possibility for everyone to enjoy a safe, satisfying, enriching, productive and affordable online experience – remains a distant prospect for LDCs. For example, only 36 per cent of the population in LDCs used the Internet in 2022, compared with 66 per cent globally. As many as seventeen per cent of the population in LDCs did not even have access to a fixed or mobile broadband network, the so-called access gap. The remaining 47 per cent offline population, representing the usage gap, were facing other barriers, such as the affordability of ICT services. Accessing the Internet in LDCs is more costly than anywhere else. The price of a benchmark mobile broadband basket with 2 GB monthly allowance in a typical LDC amounts to almost 6 per cent of the average income – around four times the typical world price of 1.5 per cent. Only 2 LDCs met the UN Broadband Commission’s affordability 2 per cent target.

This publication further provides insights in the inequality in Internet use by gender, age and urban/rural area, as well as indicators on subscriptions, mobile phone ownership and international bandwidth usage.


Read the full press release.

Visit the Trello board for infographics and additional social media assets.

For additional resources and data, visit the Facts and Figures series page.

Learn more about ITU’s Statistics thematic priority here.


Measuring digital development: Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries
March 2023

Copyright © ITU 2023. All rights reserved.