This first session of the High-Level Leaders Track, titled Universal, Affordable & Meaningful Connectivity, will focus on the Global Digital Compact (GDC) Action Area: Connect All People to the Internet, Including All Schools.
As the world is currently still combating the various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that began two years ago, the importance of digital technologies has only increased. The pandemic has forced us to rethink our traditional approach to connectivity: not only is it necessary to connect everyone digitally, but this connection should be meaningful so as to improve global living standards.
The enormous benefits of digital technologies highlight, conversely, the extreme disadvantages faced by those who lack the access and the skills to use the Internet and digital applications. Almost half the global population is still unconnected while in some countries, connectivity is present but slow, unreliable, and costly. Some online content is available in limited languages. Those most affected by online inequities are women, children, migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, older persons, people with disabilities, rural populations and indigenous people.
The digital gender gap continues to expand in many developing countries. In 2022, 62% of global Internet users are men. The African region has the largest digital gender gap in the world. Inequities and vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by COVID-19, leading to renewed concerns about the gender digital divide. In addition to bridging the gender divide, it is crucial that women and girls are included in a digital society. This is in keeping with the WSIS vision of a people-centered, inclusive, and knowledge-based society where everyone can create, access, utilize, and share information.
As the Age of Digital Interdependence matures, simply providing basic connectivity is no longer sufficient. Empowering and meaningful connectivity requires multi-stakeholder partnerships to continue investing in digital infrastructures and equipping all individuals with the access and skills needed to truly take advantage of the digital revolution.
This panel will discuss how a systematic and synergetic approach to establishing universal, meaningful, and affordable access can support populations and meet the targets set in Agenda 2030. Specifically, it will revolve around questions on the role of different stakeholders, the digital gender divide, and digital skills, in Africa and beyond.
Moderator: Ms. Jewel Forde - Television Producer & Presenter, Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation
- (Mr.) H.E. Timothy Masiu - Minister of ICTs, Papua New Guinea
- (Mr.) H.E. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami - Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigeria, and Chair of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2022, Nigeria
- (Mr.) H.E. Leon Ibombo - Minister of Posts, Telecommunications, and the Digital Economy, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
- Mr. Kojo Boakye - Director of Public Policy Africa and the Middle East, Meta
- Mr. Junhua Li - Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
- Mr. Antonio Pedro - Acting Executive Secretary, ECA
- (Ms.) H.E. Dr. Amani Abou Zeid - Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Department, AU Commissioner
- (Mr.) H.E. Balcha Reba - Ethiopian Communication Authority, Ethiopia
- Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin - Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau and Secretary-General Elect, ITU*
- Mr. Nii Narku Quaynor - Chairman, Ghana Dot Com
- Mr. Rodney Taylor - Secretary-General, Caribbean Telecommunications Union
- Ms. Onica N. Makwakwa - Africa Coordinator, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership
- Ms. Lise Fuhr - Director-General, ETNO
- Ms. Paula Ingabire - Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Rwanda*
- Mr. Göran Marby - Chief Executive Officer, ICANN
- Mr. Paul Scully, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, United Kingdom*