The Digital Sprinters: How to unlock a US$3.4 trillion opportunity

Globally, there has been a large increase in policy focus on the digital transformation of economy, society and government. Digital technologies can be a powerful catalyst for improving incomes, productivity and economic growth. However, evidence suggests that simply focusing on generating access to digital technologies, such as driving internet penetration, is not sufficient to leverage their benefits. AlphaBeta’s research in collaboration with Google shows that across 16 economies, dubbed the “Digital Sprinters”, fast growth in internet penetration has not translated into faster economic growth. These economies are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Ukraine and together they represent approximately 19 percent of internet user growth but only 7 percent of global real GDP growth since 2013.

Translating digital technologies into broad-based economic development will be one of the crucial policy making challenges of the 21st century. If the transition from digital penetration to economic growth could be fully leveraged, digital technologies could transform economic development in the Digital Sprinters by unlocking an annual economic impact of up to USD 3.4 trillion by 2030 (equivalent to about 26 percent of the estimated combined GDP of these economies in 2030). AlphaBeta’s report identifies 12 policy levers that can help guide policymaker efforts to capture this opportunity most effectively. These levers go beyond driving access to digital infrastructure and aim to fully leverage digital technologies for economic development.

Click “More” below to access the report. Or here to read the Executive Summary, also forthcoming in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish or Ukrainian.

Additionally, country-specific summaries may be found below:

Country Version
Argentina English / Spanish
Brazil English / Portuguese (forthcoming)
Chile English / Spanish
Colombia English / Spanish
Egypt English / Arabic
Israel English
Kenya English
Mexico English / Spanish
Nigeria English
Peru English / Spanish
Russia English / Russian
Saudi Arabia English / Arabic
South Africa English
Turkey English / Turkish
UAE English / Arabic 
Ukraine English / Ukrainian
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