Digital CAREC: Analysis of the Regional Digital Gap
This research report provides a questionnaire-based primary data collected in six CAREC countries – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan – which looks into four attributes of the digital divide: digital infrastructure, digital payments, e-commerce, and Internet access. Findings reveal that digital infrastructure and internet access are top-performing indicators of digital development in the CAREC region, while digital payments and e-commerce both report the lowest average score. Overall, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan were found relatively less digitally divided economies compared with Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
This study also provides a cumulative digital divide index (CDDI) using secondary data from 2016 to 2020. CDDI considers cost and affordability, access and infrastructure, Internet quality, digital security, regulations, digital FDI, and ICT output. For CDDI, this study includes eight CAREC economies: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, while Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and the PRC are dropped from the analysis due to data limitations. The average CDDI score exhibits that Kazakhstan and Georgia are the least digitally divided countries among the selected, while Azerbaijan and Mongolia are moderately divided in the digital spectrum, whereas Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan are the least performing economies in CDDI, confirming a higher digital divide.