With digitalisation developing countries have an enormous opportunity to boost growth and be part of the globalised economy. Here’s how digital projects around the world spur innovation and help people access better services

Digitalisation speeds up development, helps economic growth, brings people closer together and enables better use of resources. But many countries are struggling to invest in innovation and digital technologies, because they can’t afford to finance it. Nearly 2.9 billion people around the world, especially women and girls, lack a telephone, computer, or Internet access.

The European Investment Bank wants to help improve technology and innovate. In 2021, our financing helped to boost new digital business models, connected 3.5 million households to fixed fibre and enabled 6.8 million subscriptions for 5G services. Last year, among others, the Bank secured financing for the digitalisation of motorway infrastructure in Morocco and the expansion of the national broadband in rural areas of Georgia.

The EU bank is bringing the internet and digital banking to rural communities in countries that have poor infrastructure and investing in telecommunications infrastructure. We are also supporting innovative projects that help develop new financial instruments for the poorest and most disadvantaged people, offering digital services in healthcare, banking, commerce, and government administration.

“Digitalisation is the great leveller of opportunities,” says Benoit Denis, a senior economist on digital projects at the European Investment Bank.  “Investment in digital education, infrastructure and digital services can improve gender equality, build resilience to climate change, and help achieve many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”