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A lack of access to affordable broadband and data servers in developing countries severely limits the scope of ‘cloud computing’ that uses vast, shared virtual servers instead of localised hardware to run applications and store data, according to a UN report.

Cloud computing enables users to access flexible data storage and computing resources as and when required, and is considered to be among the most significant disruptive technologies over the next two decades, with major implications for markets, economies and societies, says the report published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) this month (3 December).

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