Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The digital divide: 60/40

A new report sponsored by the United Nations Organization reveals that by the end of 2013, forty per cent of the world's population will be online, representing 2.7 million people. This also means that sixty per cent of the world's population will not have access to the Internet, despite the fact that military spending tops 1.7 trillion USD.

One point seven trillion dollars, or one point seven thousand billion dollars (1,700,000,000,000 USD) is the amount of money currently spent on military budgets around the world today yet around sixty per cent of the world's population continues not to have access to the Internet.

These are the findings of the latest UN-sponsored report released this week, drawn up by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The fastest-growing markets, according to the report, are mobile broadband networks and by the end of 2013 there will be almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as there are people on the planet, some 6.8 billion. These however will be concentrated among only forty per cent of the population, while 60 per cent remain shut out, victims of the digital divide.

Africa, predictably, is bottom of the list in terms of access and affordability - Colonel Gaddafi's attempts to bridge the digital divide in the continent by providing pan-African access, tele-medicine and e-learning programmes for all Africans, having been swept away by the NATO invasion in 2011, as terrorist forces were unleashed to punish him for his humanitarian projects (which were to win him a UN award), which in turn cost western lobbies billions of dollars in revenue. Three African countries (São Tomé and Principe, Zimbabwe and DR Congo) have the least affordable networks.

In Africa, the report states, around ten per cent of young people aged 15 to 24 have access to the Internet, compared with around 80 per cent in Europe, 60 per cent in the Americas, 35% in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States, ex-USSR), 30% in the Arab States and 25% in the Asia-Pacific Region. The digital divide exists: in so-called developed countries, around 85% of young people are considered "digital natives", while in the "developing" countries, the figure is under 50 per cent.

One third of the world's population lives in the Least Connected Countries and this third, over two billion people, therefore does not enjoy the same birthrights as those born on one side of some invisible frontier.

2013, the world we live in, and let this be a document for posterity, is one in which humankind spends nearly two trillion dollars a year inventing and producing machines to kill people, while a third of the planet has basically no chance to compete on equal terms with the rest because centuries of Imperialism and hostile practices held these countries back as their resources were stolen and their peoples impoverished.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey