The global digitalization trend continues around the world, albeit unevenly, according to the World Bank’s Digital Progress and Trends Report 2023.  

Digital technologies are increasingly becoming an integral part of most of our daily lives, transforming communications, business, health and education. Moreover, over the past decade, digital payments have experienced incredible growth.  

Digitalization of banking, online banking and mobile apps

The rise of fintech, computer programs, and other technology used to support or enable banking and financial services online has replaced brick-and-mortar banking for the smartphone generation.   

Fintech is one of the fastest-growing areas for venture capitalists. 

Digitalization of cash 


In 2019, consumers with a bank account used cash for approximately 25 percent of their payments, which decreased to 17 per cent in 2022. By comparison, consumers who do not have bank accounts increased their share of cash use since 2019; they made 66 per cent of all payments with cash in 2022.

However, the recent cost of living crisis has resulted in cash returning. 

Yet, billions of people globally are still offline, and digital advancement has been uneven.

Digitalization Has Been Uneven

According to the World Bank, between 2018 and 2022, the world gained 1.5 billion new internet users.

In 2020 alone, the share of the global population using the internet increased by 6% (500 million people), marking the highest jump in history. India, in particular, has seen high rates of adoption. For example, in 2018, only 20% of Indians used the internet. By 2022, this percentage had grown to more than 50%.

However, the progress of digitalization has been uneven both within and across countries.

Digitalization remains globally uneven

In 2022, one-third of the global population remained offline, with parts of Asia and Africa still experiencing below-average internet usage. 

For instance, more than half of enterprises in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal reportedly lack internet connection.

Digitalization geographical breakdown

The global average connectivity is 66%, with more than half of the global population using the internet.

The world’s population of 8 billion people now has the technology, due to the rapid takeup of smartphones, to transact in a global digital currency.       

North America has the highest connectivity, with 92% of the population using the internet.

Europe & Central Asia comes in at second highest usage of internet at 87%.

Middle East and Africa has its population using the internet 77%.

East Asia and the Pacific is 74%.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest population using the Internet at 33%, followed by South Asia at 42%. 

According to the World Bank’s report, when fast internet becomes available, the probability of an individual being employed increases by up to 13%, and total employment per firm increases by up to 22%. Moreover, firm exports nearly quadruple with the availability of fast internet. Across Africa, 3G coverage has helped reduce extreme poverty, with reductions of 10% seen in Senegal and 4.3% in Nigeria.

So maybe Africa, with its sizable smartphone generation, leads the digitalization of cash?

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