A new UK digital development strategy published today (Monday 18 March) sets out how the UK will lead the way and partner with countries around the globe, so no-one is left behind in a digital world.

Digital technologies can support development, for example, mobile money and financial technology have had a huge impact by including people around the world in the digital economy.

Likewise Artificial Intelligence has the potential to boost health research and reduce the cost of drug development.

However, there are 2.6 billion people globally without internet, including 65% of homes in poorer countries. There is also a stark gender divide, with women about 20% less likely than men to access the internet on a mobile phone.

The UK’s new strategy, launched by Development Minister Andrew Mitchell today, will support countries to maximise the opportunities and minimise the risks of a rapidly changing digital world.

Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said:

Digital technologies are central to our daily lives but currently a lot of countries are missing out on the opportunities they provide.

Our new Digital Development Strategy will promote affordable connectivity, harness the potential of AI for development and help tackle online violence against women and girls.

Development Minister Andrew Mitchell. Photo credit: UK Gov

The strategy is focused on four priority areas in digital development:

  • Last-mile connectivity – Promoting basic connectivity in remote, low-income areas. By 2030 the UK will have supported at least 20 partner countries to halve the gap between people who have connectivity and people who do not, for example by facilitating regulatory reforms and building capacity of local organisations.
  • Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) – DPI is the technical term for society-wide digital services, such as e-government and national payment systems. By 2030 the UK will have supported at least 20 partner countries to bring in national digital services.
  • Artificial Intelligence – The rapid evolution of AI presents both opportunities and risks, especially for developing countries that risk being left behind due to their weaker digital foundations. By 2030 the UK will have created or scaled up at least eight AI research labs at African universities and helped create regulatory frameworks for responsible AI.
  • Women & Girls – The gender divide limits women and girls’ ability to benefit from digital technology. By 2030 the UK will have supported at least 50 million women and girls to participate safely and meaningfully in the digital world by providing online safety advice and digital training.

Publication of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s first digital development strategy follows the UK’s White Paper on International Development, published last year, which demonstrated the need to make digital transformation inclusive, responsible and sustainable.


  1. We do not want a CBDC or digital social credit where the people will suffer and be controlled on what we buy etc just like the Chinese with the help of Sunaks father in law and his company Infosys 😡

  2. Until recently I had two cousins, one 81 and one of 90, neither of which had computers or mobile phones. What is more, they were completely against them.

    Sadly, the 90 year old has now passed away. She was very with it in other ways and was still driving. The introduction of the new ULEZ zone really worried her as she received a letter about how to apply for an account online, with no mention of a phone number. I think she had another letter from the mayor after I complained about it. I don’t think this is just confined to old people, there are some young people who can’t afford computers or phones.

    The Government and councils, banks etc shouldn’t have to be reminded that there are people like this, so please remember it when you try to get everyone to go digital.

    Also please stop car parks from making people have to download apps to park. A lot of people aren’t happy about this, even if you have a smart phone and there have been cases of people getting scammed because the details in the car parks have been altered.


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