Digital Development Partnership (DDP)

The World Bank's new Digital Development Partnership (DDP) helps operationalize the 2016 World Development Report on Digital Dividends and offers a platform for digital innovation and development financing. The DDP brings public and private sector partners together to catalyze support to developing countries in the articulation and implementation of digital development strategies and plans.


Digital technologies can help in addressing some of the toughest development challenges: providing access to information, overcoming remoteness, exclusion, and disconnects, and offering economic opportunity. World leaders, academics, the private sector, and development specialists agree on the tremendous potential of using digital technologies for development. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set the target to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the internet in least developed countries by 2020” (SDG target 9.c). More generally, the ambition of many SDGs such as target 5.c will require innovative, inclusive, technology-based solutions. Numerous initiatives led by civil society and the private sector call for a better use of digital technologies to achieve a breakthrough on some of the most persistent development challenges.

World Development Report 2016 

The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report on Digital Dividends (WDR 2016), published in January 2016, presents a balanced and nuanced analysis of the ‘Digital Dividends’ that developing countries can expect to reap. The report reviews the opportunities that digital technologies offer to developing countries, the risks that exist if the benefits of digital innovation accrue to those already better off, and the necessary complements (such as the country’s skills capacity, business environment, and governance) to ensure that digital development can work as a positive force for sustainable, inclusive development. 

Digital Development Partnership

To help implement the SDGs and operationalize the WDR 2016, the World Bank has launched a Digital Development Partnership (DDP). This partnership makes digital solutions available to developing countries with an emphasis on the following areas:

  • Data and indicators
  • Digital economy enabling environment
  • Cybersecurity
  • Internet access for all
  • Digital government
  • Mainstreaming digital services, solutions, and platforms.

DDP has identified six priority work areas:

Data and Indicators

DDP scales up the use of data and indicators – including big data – to benchmark and advance the readiness of client countries to reap digital dividends. Toolkits combine information on the spread of digital technologies with an assessment of the regulatory environment. They inform all DDP reform priorities. 

Digital Economy Enabling Environment

The convergence of ICT, media, and content technologies and platforms requires a regulatory framework in support of the digital economy. DDP funded activities seek to overhaul obsolete regulations, remove bottlenecks to the development of digital ecosystems, and foster competition. Issues of policy and regulation of the digital space to be addressed include: cloud services, local content creation, open data, consumer privacy and data protection, and, more generally, the interface between digital or ICT regulations and other sector regulations.


Cybersecurity concerns grow in parallel with the adoption of digital services and infrastructure. DDP will help advance the capacity of World Bank clients in the development of cybersecurity policies and standards, and support good practices in the use of cybersecurity tools, safeguards, and risk management instruments.

Internet Access for All

WDR 2016 argues that a new digital divide is emerging and constitutes one of the main hurdles to capturing digital dividends. DDP offers technical assistance to support client countries in enhancing their connectivity, covering matters of national policy and strategy, regulation and markets, technological standards, infrastructure sharing and development, spectrum management, taxation, gender aspects of connectivity, and regional ICT markets.

Digital Government

The WDR highlights the tremendous opportunities in using e-Government models to improve service delivery, foster transparency and efficiency in public administration, and empower all citizens and entrepreneurs. DDP supports client governments in the development of digital government infrastructure platforms and shared services. Work areas include digital government leadership, public sector IT architecture and governance, data and analytics platforms, and interoperability.

Mainstreaming Digital Services, Solutions, and Platforms

Digital delivery affects all fields of socio-economic activity. In the area of transport, for example, digital solutions can help increase efficiency, access, and reduce CO2 emissions. DDP fosters digital capabilities in a range of areas where collaboration with other World Bank Units, associations, firms, donors, and other partners can foster growth and inclusion. This implies jointly leveraging digital enablers such as Internet of Things, cloud computing, and mobile platforms and payment systems.

As digital progress is fast and primarily private sector driven, DDP draws on best practices from client countries and the private sector. To this end, DDP is bringing together traditional partners from the development community and leading global IT firms. Much of this digital development agenda is encouraged through loans and grants from the World Bank and other development partners.

Currently, DDP is in a partnership with Microsoft, GSMA, Finland, Japan, and Korea. DDP will further expand the partnership to catalyze multidonor funds to accelerate the engagement with country clients, roll out new approaches to ICT, and advance digital development.

 Teaching Digital Dividends (January 02, 2018)

More than 40 percent of the world’s population relies on the internet. But 4 billion others are without internet access and are left out of the digital future. Technology and development experts addressed the impact of digital technology on development in a 6-week Massive Open Online Course called “Digital Dividends.” Read more

Story: Youth Summit Brings New Ideas to Digital Development (December 18, 2017)

The World Bank’s Youth Summit brought innovative thinkers between the ages of 18 and 35 to meet with World Bank experts to discuss the impact of technology on development. This year’s topic, “Technology and Innovation for Impact,” sponsored in part by DDP, brought a lively crowd to the first floor of the World Bank’s headquarters. Read more

Publication: Connecting One and All to the Digital Revolution (December 14, 2017)

‘Leapfrogging’ into the digital economy holds huge promise for Africa. Digital development is a priority for many countries; in Africa, the challenge is that some countries must build a 21st century digital economy without the benefit of 20th century infrastructure. Read more

Speech: Remarks by World Bank Group President  Jim Yong Kim at the Global Connect Initiative (April 14, 2016)

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stressed the importance of digital development in his speech at the Global Connect Initiative. The Initiative aims to bring 1.5 billion additional people online by 2020, and is based on the idea that internet connectivity is a key to economic growth. Read more

Story: Digital Revolution Needs Offline Help to Realize Its Potential (January 13, 2016)

Though billions of people around the globe rely on mobile phones, the digital revolution hasn’t reached everyone, according the World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report, “Digital Dividends.”  Bringing the gains of the digital revolution to everyone requires much work in the real world, according to the report. Read more 

 Digital Development Partnership from Vision to Action (October 13, 2017)

From the importance of data collection, to the necessity of providing internet access to all, to e-government, DDP is working on a broad array of digital initiatives around the world. The World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings in October 2017 offered time for a workshop to update partners, country clients, and those interested in DDP’s latest work. Read more

Ensuring an Enabling Environment for Digital Development (October 8, 2016)

How to best ensure that everyone has access to the digital future? How to connect the 4 billion without internet access? What are the next steps in making sure the digital revolution is inclusive? Participants in a seminar at the World Bank took on these big questions, and more. Watch here

For the one billion people who live off the power grid, there is no internet connectivity without electricity. The potential gains from the digital revolution mean nothing to people who can’t power up a device, which is why electricity and broadband access should go together. Read more

Burkina Faso, a small, low-income country in West Africa, has big ambitions.  The country is planning for a digital future.  It is investing in e-government and putting all public agencies, schools and health centers online, while issuing unique digital IDs for all citizens. Read more 

More than 4 billion people lack access to the internet, with 90 percent of them in developing countries. Unleashing the potential of the internet and a digital economy requires a broad, ambitious and thoughtful approach, according to participants at the Global Connect Initiative meeting at the World Bank. Read more

The 2016 World Development Report on “Digital Dividends” outlines the barriers that are keeping countries—and their citizens—from benefitting in the digital future.  Gaps in access to high-speed internet is vital, but the quality and price of such access fluctuates wildly from country to country.  Read more

Transforming Transportation 2018: Realizing Sustainable Mobility for all in the Digital Era

New digital tools to make transportation smarter, cleaner and more efficient are quickly changing the way people move. Experts discussed the changes at the Transforming Transportation conference. Watch here

 Ensuring an Enabling Environment for Digital Development

How to best ensure that everyone has access to the digital future? How to connect the 4 billion without internet access? What are the next steps in making sure the digital revolution is inclusive? Participants in a seminar at the World Bank took on these big questions, and more. Watch here

 Global Connect Initiative with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry

The Global Connect Initiative is a U.S. State Department project designed to make internet access a fundamental part of development. More than 40 countries have joined the Initiative, with the goal of bringing an additional 1.5 billion people online by 2020. At the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings in 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry joined World Bank President Jim Kim and others to discuss progress. Watch here

 World Development Report 2016

There are about 1.1 billion people in the world who can’t prove who they are. Without an unique, secure identity, people don’t have access to schools, banking, and social programs. India is using biometrics in a vast program to give everyone a digital ID, a project that’s having an impact on people’s lives. Watch here

 Transforming People's Lives: Mobile Money in Kenya

Phone-based mobile money has had a huge impact in Kenya ever since its launch in 2007. Access to mobile money has reduced poverty in Kenya, particularly among female-headed households. Read more