Lack of ICT skills a barrier to effective Internet use

Percentage of people with basic skills,
latest year available in 2014-2018

Source: ITU.

Percentage of people with standard skills,
latest year available in 2014-2018

Source: ITU.

Percentage of people with advanced skills,
latest year available in 2014-2018

Source: ITU.

An important barrier in the uptake and effective use of the Internet is a lack of ICT skills.


In 40 out of 84 countries for which data are available, less than half the population possesses basic computer skills such as copying a file or sending an e-mail with an attachment.


For more complex activities (classified as “standard skills”), such as using basic arithmetic formulae in a spreadsheet or downloading and installing new software, the proportions are even lower. In 60 of the countries for which data are available, these proportions are below 50 per cent.


With respect to advanced computer skills, in only two countries (United Arab Emirates and Brunei Darussalam) do more than 15 per cent of people report having written a computer program using a specialized programming language in the last three months. In only 10 other countries is that proportion above 10 per cent.


Although more data need to be collected, these results show that there is a strong need to develop digital skills.

Note: For each country, the value for basic skills is the highest value among the following four computer-based activities: copying or moving a file or folder, using copy and paste tools to duplicate or move information within a document, sending

e-mails with attached files, and transferring files between a computer and other devices. The value for standard skills is the highest value among the following four computer-based activities: using basic arithmetic formula in a spreadsheet; connecting and installing new devices; creating electronic presentations with presentation software; and finding, downloading, installing and configuring software. The value for advanced skills is the value for writing a computer program using a specialized programming language.