Powered by a rapid expansion of the internet, digital technology usage is witnessing a sharp upward trend in the global economy today, says a recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) report.
Unctad globally released the digital economy report "Value Creation and Capture: Implications for Developing Countries" on Thursday. But it has no good indication for Least Developed Countries (LDC) such as Bangladesh.
15.5 percent of the global economy now depends on digital technology. China's digital economy in 2017 was around 30 percent of its Gross Domestic Production (GDP), while it was 21.6 percent for the US.
The global value of e-commerce reached around $29 trillion in 2017, which is 36 percent of the world's GDP, and 13 percent more than in 2016.
However, less than 0.2 percent of Bangladeshi people are now engaged in the information technology sector. Variables related to employment in the digital economy and challenges to measuring the number of jobs in the related sector in Bangladesh are hard to identify, according to the report.
Just over 10,500 people in Bangladesh were working in computer and information services, according to the latest economic census of 2013.
Citing a Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) report, Unctad report says there were around 30,000 freelancers in the country's information and communication technology (ICT) sector in 2013, an increase of 10,000 from 2011.
As many as half a million freelancers, with total annual earnings of $100 million, regularly worked in 2017. Plus, around 3 lakh professionals were employed in IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) in 2017, says the BCC report.
But, the Unctad report says not all the freelancers were listed as employees in the ICT sector.
Employment in the global ICT sector was 39 million in 2015, from 34 million in 2010, with an increase of 13 percent, says the report.
The Unctad report also examined the developing countries' scope for value creation and capture in the digital economy and gave special attention to opportunities for these countries, as producers and innovators, to take advantage of the data-driven economy.
Global ICT export reached $568 billion in 2018 from $175 billion in 2005 while the share of the digitally-deliverable services in global service export reached to 2.9 trillion from $1.2 trillion.
Global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic grew from about 100 gigabytes per day in 1992 to more than 45,000 gigabytes per second in 2017.
However, around half of the world's people are still offline. In the LDCs only one in five people are online, says the report.
Adding that the world is only in its early days of the data-driven economy, Unctad report says the global IP traffic is projected to be 150,700 gigabytes per second by 2022, as there will be more people coming online for the first time.