A Digital Partnership For Development’s Future

Goal 8: a global partnership for developmentThis is part of our year-long series “Millennium Development Goals Tech Roadmap”

Goal 8: Develop A Global Partnership For Development

Target 8A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

Target 8B: Address the special needs of least developed countries

Target 8C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States

Target 8D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries

Target 8E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

Target 8F: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

More developed countries are taking a deep interest in improving the state of the developing world.  Global development assistance in 2013 reached a record high of $134.8 billion. However, much of that aid didn’t go to the poorest countries.  Thirty four of the 48 least developed countries are in Africa, but bilateral aid to the continent decrease by five percent last year.  Also, aid to landlocked countries fell for the first time in 2010, while aid actually went up for developing, small island countries.

While better drugs are now available for the world’s leading diseases, access to available and affordable drugs in the developing world is still a problem.

Eighty percent of imports from developing countries enter developed countries duty-free. The debt burden on developing countries remains stable at about 3 percent of export revenue, which dropped by 75 percent in 14 years.

Many industrialized countries are moving away from aid and attempting to established better trade relationships, which have been hit and miss in results.

Notably, China is quickly becoming the top trading partner in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, much to the dismay of the United States and the European Union.  While the PRC doesn’t usually release its foreign aid statistics, its financing of large infrastructure and natural resource development projects throughout the developing world could be valued in the trillions.

The United States has been playing catch up with China to solidify its trading partners.  Specifically, when President Obama traveled to Africa last year, he launched the Power Africa Initiative, which initially committed $7 billion of energy resources towards at least 20 million households.  Last month Obama announced he would increase the investment to 60 million households.

While all of the MDGs have a technological component involved, Goal 8 is the only MDG that specifically addresses the benefits of ICTs for development.  Two-thirds of Internet users are in the developing world.  One-third of the world’s youth are “digital natives.”

However, the digital divide continues to be a problem.  Over four billion people don’t have access to the Internet, and 90 percent of them are in the developing world. This is due to the lack of connectivity and electricity access and poor infrastructure.  Nonetheless, with the rapid growth of mobile technology in these regions, the digital gap will continue to shrink.

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