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Digital inclusion

We want to ensure everyone can reap the benefits and opportunities of the digital economy and society, no matter where they live. All over the world, connectivity has helped expand choice, build new solutions to social problems, create new markets, jobs, provide educational opportunities and catalyse economic growth. But, over half of the world’s population is still without access to the internet, or where there is access it is expensive or unreliable and safeguards for security and consumer protection in many developing countries are limited.

As digital innovations and services evolve and increasingly become part of everyday lives, ensuring the right foundations are in place is a vital part of making sure consumers across the world are empowered to get the benefits of digital technology.

Connecting Voices

Our major new report ‘Connecting Voices: a role for consumer rights in developing digital society’ was commissioned by the Ford Foundation to explore how consumer digital issues are presenting themselves in selected Latin American, African and Asian countries and where there are opportunities to focus resources to more effectively achieve positive change.

Based on a survey of our members, interviews with consumer activists, digital rights organisations and intergovernmental organisations, the research revealed:

Major challenges: the main digital consumer challenges for all countries in the study are access, affordability, inclusion, establishing appropriate legal frameworks and a free and open internet.

Context: factors that can slow down or distort civil society’s attempts to improve digital development and digital rights include; low literacy levels, government manipulation of existing legislation, corruption and culturally specific understandings of terms such as ‘rights’.

Connecting voices: digital rights organisations and consumer organisations often work in parallel on similar topics such as privacy, security and access. Articulating how consumer rights can effectively promote economic and digital rights and sharing resources and different approaches to advocacy and campaigns strategies will enable effective collaboration.  

See the big picture: civil society, international organisations and funders need to understand the nature of these challenges and the context in which they sit in order to effectively address digital development and digital rights and decide on support or funding strategies.

Click below to download the report in English.


Related materials

WCRD 2017 briefing: Access & Choice

Also available in Spanish, French and Arabic.

Building a digital world consumers can trust

Fintech Report (2017)


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