We have just published a set of papers for our twelfth topic, Infrastructure.
What would happen if we brought broadband internet to 3 billion people in the developing world?
Clearly, the rapid rollout of broadband services has transformed the lives of people in the industrialized world, and there is every reason to expect that developing countries could benefit at least as much. It would enable a host of new enterprises and all the spillovers that come with it - more jobs, greater efficiency, bigger markets for goods and services, and faster innovation. It would also assist in achieving better outcomes in education, health and poverty reduction. In short, it would deliver a significant boost to GDP.
As reported by AFP across the world (also in Russian and Indonesian language) and the Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest opportunities is in mobile technologies. Mobile phone use is already spreading rapidly in developing countries, avoiding the need for old-style fixed infrastructure, and data services can use the same system.
One scenario envisions we increase developing countries mobile broadband access from 21% in 2014 to 60% in 2030, bringing 3 billion people online over the next 15 years. Already by 2020, the benefits would be almost half a trillion annually, and these would increase further towards 2030. Over the coming decades the total benefit would reach almost $22 trillion.
These eye-catching numbers come at significant cost - $1.3 trillion over 15 years. But it would be money well spent because every dollar invested returns $17 in benefits.
Annual Cost ($B)
Benefit For Every Dollar Spent
Increase World fixed broadband penetration by three-fold from 2014 levels (from 10% to 30% in 2030)
Increase Developing countriesâ€™ fixed broadband penetration by approx. three-fold from 2014 levels (from 6% to 20% in 2030)
Increase World mobile broadband penetration by approx. three-fold from 2014 levels (from 32% to 90% in 2030)
Increase Developing countriesâ€™ mobile broadband penetration by approx. three-fold (from 21% in 2014 to 60% in 2030)
Increase World penetration of Fixed+ Mobile Broadband from 42% in 2014 to 100% 2030 (assuming to reach the target with 1/3 of fixed lines and 2/3 of mobile connections)
Increase Developing countriesâ€™ penetration of Fixed+ Mobile Broadband from 27% in 2014 to 80% in 2030 (reaching the target with 1/3 of fixed lines and 2/3 of mobile connections)
Universal fixed broadband penetration by the year 2030
Universal mobile broadband penetration by the year 2030
You can read all of the reports at www.post2015consensus.com/infrastructure
Here, Copenhagen Consensus Center has just released its latest research on Infrastructure targets for the post-2015 development agenda. Emmanuelle Auriol, Professor at the School of Economics, University of Toulouse and Alexia Lee GonzÃ¡lez Fanfalone, Doctoral candidate at the School of Economics, University of Toulouse write the main report, peer-reviewed in a perspective paper by Pantelis Koutroumpis, Research Fellow at Imperial College London Additionally, NGOs and stakeholders such as Urban Institute and Alliance for Affordable Internet present viewpoint papers concerning Auriol and Fanfaloneâ€™s analysis.
PhD and Adjunct Professor
President of Copenhagen Consensus Center
PS. The Post-2015 Consensus project brings together 62 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals. If you have questions about the project, send an email to Research Project Manager Brad Wong by replying to this email.