Human development and digital transformation in Montenegro

           Well above the global average (53.6 per cent), 71.5 per cent in Montenegro have access to the Internet whether at home or outside it. Despite strong progress, however, Montenegro stands below European trends (80.1 per cent) and the average access rate for all Developed countries (84.9 per cent)—highlighting opportunity for accelerated progress.

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Source: ITU 2020

Figure 2 Will robots replace people?

Source: IPSOS, 2018

But digital access is unevenly distributed along geographical factors in Montenegro. Access in rural areas is just 62.8 per cent compared to 80 per cent in urban areas. And a divide exists between the North and South of the country: Internet access in the North is only 64.8 per cent, while in the South, including the capital area, 79.2 per cent are connected.

And a key challenge rests in how people in Montenegro view the risks of digitalization. Although 24 per cent of people in Montenegro already feel the impact of robots replacing their work, 44 per cent do not believe this will happen in the near future.

Human development and digital access: a virtuous cycle

Human history is the history of technological change: from basic hand tools to the washing machine to today’s smartphones: technology holds the potential to drive improvements in living standards and human well-being.

But while there is a correlation between measures of digital adoption and human development, the relationship is not automatic. For any given level of a digital adoption index (DAI), countries hold a wide range of HDI values. And the interrelationship is likely two-way and mutually reinforcing.

The DAI measures countries’ digital adoption across three dimensions: people, government, and business. Covering 180 countries on a 0–1 scale, it is the simple average of three sub-indexes: increasing productivity and accelerating broad-based growth for business; expanding opportunities and improving welfare for people; and increasing the efficiency and accountability of service delivery for government.  

But new technological disruptions levy as many new costs as opportunities, requiring interventions to ensure change does not leave any group behind. A key lesson from the history of technological change is that we must ensure major innovations help everyone—regardless of age, sex, income, disability or location.

Source: HDI: UNDP 2019; DAI: World Bank 2020.