A gains against the digital divide

A gains against the digital divide
The global partnership platform led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified new connectivity projects worth USD 7 billion worldwide in 2023.
The global partnership platform led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified new connectivity projects worth USD 7 billion worldwide in 2023.
The value of resources mobilized through ITU’s Partner2Connect (P2C) pledging platform now amounts to nearly USD 37 billion, with most of those commitments moving forward as planned.
The commitments by governments, organizations and companies aim to provide access to affordable and meaningful connectivity for people who are currently living offline.
ITU announced the latest pledge totals and related data on 12 December at the second annual meeting of the P2C Digital Coalition.
An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide still lack a connection to the Internet.
“Partner2Connect is about big numbers but even bigger human impact stories,” said , ITU Secretary-General. “Behind the numbers are people and organizations committed to making a difference in the lives of hard-to-connect communities.”
Last miles the hardest
ITU – the United Nations agency for digital technologies – has called for USD 100 billion worth of pledges by 2026, aiming to mobilize expertise and investment for projects reaching the world’s hardest-to-connect communities.
Recent matchmaking roundtables helped line up partner pledges with specific regional and country-level needs and priorities.
“The Partner2Connect Digital Coalition is one of ITU’s key global multi-stakeholder initiatives,” said Cosmas, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “The matchmaking roundtables are crucial for guaranteeing tangible impact on the ground and enhancing people’s quality of life through universal and meaningful Internet connectivity.”
One-third of existing P2C pledges target at least one of the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). Internet services are broadly affordable in only two of those countries.
Women are specified among the beneficiary groups in over half of P2C pledges, reflecting a focus on addressing the gender divide in digital access. Globally, only 65 per cent of women use the Internet compared to 70 per cent of men, according to ITU’s Facts and Figures 2023.
The annual meeting also highlighted pledges dedicated to ensuring connectivity for refugees and driving sustainable digital transformation.
More pledgers and pledges
The number of different entities pledging through the P2C platform increased by 58 per cent since a year ago, with the number of pledges received increasing by 55 per cent.
Leading tech companies Amazon, Microsoft and ZTE reiterated their commitment as P2C Champions to boosting connectivity and provided important updates on the implementation of their pledges.
P2C aims to mobilize resources, partnerships, and commitments for universal and meaningful connectivity, including for the hardest-to-connect communities in LDCs, landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).
 
Jan 7, 2024
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