Bridging the Technological Divide: Technology Adoption by Firms in Developing Countries

Many of the main problems facing developing countries today and tomorrow--growth, poverty reduction, inequality, food insecurity, job creation, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and adjustment to climate change--hinge on adopting better technology, a key driver of economic development. Access to technology is not enough: firms have to adopt it. Yet it is precisely the uptake of technology that is lagging in many firms in developing countries. The COVID-19 pandemic drove a big uptake of technology, especially digital technologies. The report takes advantage of this shift to delve into which firms have adopted and use technologies and to what purpose. To do so, it proposes a new approach to measure and understand the adoption and use of technologies by firms. Specifically, it leverages a new data collection instrument, the Firm-level Adoption of Technology (FAT) survey, which provides a very rich characterization of the technologies used and the processes of adoption by firms in developing countries.