Researchers Map Kuwait’s Digital Inequalities Ahead of Digital Transformation


The report notes that the effective integration of ICT will be fundamental in Kuwait’s quest to transition from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy.

Fahed Al-Sumait, assistant professor of communication at Gulf University for Science and Technology, is one of the authors of the report. He wrote to Al-Fanar Media: “By ensuring more equitable access, skills development and delivering tangible results that benefit diverse communities (local and expatriate), Kuwait can further enhance the positive dividends of transformation. digital society.

In a foreword to the report, Francisco HG Ferreira, professor of inequality studies at the London School of Economics, said the report is an important contribution for policy makers in Kuwait.

He added: “His careful analysis is particularly needed for a country as demographically diverse as Kuwait, where nearly two-thirds of the population are immigrants and where gender inequality has long been a concern.” .

Covid-19 Accelerated Change

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have amplified the vital role of information and communication technologies and accelerated societies’ reliance on them, the report says.

However, the benefits of these technologies are not evenly distributed across or within countries.

Kuwait is in a privileged position in terms of the availability of digital technologies, the report says. However, an accurate picture of how the benefits of these technologies are distributed in Kuwaiti society has been obscured by the limitations of existing data. The survey aimed to fill some of these gaps.

Near universal access

Internet access and smartphone ownership are nearly universal in Kuwait, according to the survey. However, for the less educated respondents, as well as a significant portion of the Asian expat community, their smartphone is their only form of access to digital technologies.

The less educated group also uses public Wi-Fi hotspots the least and has access to the fewest internet-connected devices, which limits the results they can achieve.

Unlike the situation in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, the survey found that women in Kuwait do not experience a significant gender gap in access to digital technologies. In fact, on average, women showed higher levels of personal internet use, owned more devices, and performed better at work with ICT than men.

However, women scored lower than men in several ICT-related skills. Men reported superior operational, information browsing, and content creation abilities. Still, women do slightly better than their male counterparts when it comes to online social skills.

As expected, the youngest respondents (aged 19-25) had more access to devices than any other age group. Retired residents had the lowest percentage of smartphone ownership, which was still high at 94%. All other populations were close or 100%, the report said.

Divided by education and origin

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