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Other challenges include limited access to modern energy and inadequacies in infrastructure in general. For example, while all the groups have made progress in improving access to the Internet, the access levels are still very low, relative to the developed world (81 per cent in 2017). High-speed internet connectivity as well as the number of patent applications is very low. This implies that individuals and businesses in the countries in special situations do not fully participate in the knowledge economy and face challenges when competing with advanced economies.
For SIDS, connectivity is a cross-cutting theme which unites various thematic areas of importance to SIDS including sustainable tourism, social development, environmental management, sustainable agriculture, disaster risk reduction among others. High-speed internet connectivity in SIDS can greatly reduce the isolation and remoteness - and thereby help to reduce their vulnerabilities.
These structural challenges contribute to the small share of LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and Africa’s exports in global trade. Therefore, the implementation of commitments in the AAAA to duty-free and quota-free market access in a timely manner on all products from LDCs, and simple and transparent rules of origin applicable to imports from LDCs has the potential to reverse the negative trend of LDCs share in global trade.