The United Nation’s telco agency, International Telecommunications Union [ITU], has launched a new fundraising with the aim at connecting the unconnected in countries facing daunting challenges.
The fundraising targeted value from $30 billion to $100 billion will connect, accelerate global digitalisation, and boost meaningful connectivity in the world’s least developed countries by 2026 and is accomplished by Partner2Connect, a UN multi-agency programme with an agenda to fulfill the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
With the theme “Empowering the Least Developed Countries through Information and Communication Technologies”, ITU called on public and private sectors to make pledges for universal connectivity and digital transformation in these countries through its Partner2Connect Digital Coalition during this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day,
According to the ITU, LDCs are the world’s greatest untapped resource whose needs must be addressed to achieve the SDGs.
ITU further stated that about one-third, around 720 million of the 2.7 billion people, still unconnected to the internet live in the 46 LDCs.
The union revealed that in 2022, the LDCs accounted for 27 per cent of people worldwide with no Internet access.
The Secretary-General of ITU, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, said that adequate steps must be taken to accelerate digital transformation for everyone, which the fundraising was set to achieve.
She said, “Tech is at the top of the global agenda, but the benefits of digital technology are still out of reach for too many people. If we are serious about digitalising the world in a meaningful and sustainable way, we must take action to accelerate digital transformation for everyone.”
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said the WTISD highlights how technology would enhance sustainable development in least-developed countries, the digital revolution is the redefining force of the current era and has tremendous opportunities from transforming education to accelerating climate action to achieve all the SDGs.
But to realise the promise of technology, Guterres said a joint effort must be applied to confront its pales such as the risk posed by artificial intelligence.
“Technology must be an instrument to reduce divides, not deepen them. As the internet becomes ever more sensor to value creation innovation, LDCs risk falling further behind. We must dramatically improve inclusivity and eliminate digital divides, support the creation of digital public goods, and open such software, open data, and open content.
He added that there should be investment in the capacities of public institutions so that they have the skills and resources to understand, oversee, shape, and engage with artificial intelligence and other transformative technologies.