Next month, the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will be adopted in New York. The SDGs will usher in new development objectives for the international community. These goals encompass a wide range of objectives, but they make only passing reference to a vitally important instrument in the development toolbox: expanded Internet access.
Overlooking the expansion of Internet access is problematic as it is set to become the most important infrastructure for development that the world has ever seen. The free flow of data can positively affect a country’s wealth, health and education, not to mention broader social goals such as improved democracy, accountability and an expansion of the rule of law. According to the Boston Consulting Group, by 2016 the Internet will contribute upwards of $4.2-trillion (U.S.) to G20 economies – and most of the world is still offline.