IGF 2023 WS #335 Unifying Digital Frontiers: Bridging the Digital Divide


Digital Divides & Inclusion
Affordable Access
Digital, Media, and Information Literacy
Gender Digital Divide
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Organizer 1: Shadrach Ankrah, Ghana Youth IGF
Organizer 2: Ashirwad Tripathy, 🔒
Organizer 3: Maxwell Beganim, 🔒
Organizer 4: samuel lemma, 🔒civil society

Speaker 1: Shadrach Ankrah, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 2: Ashirwad Tripathy, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Imani Luvanga, Private Sector, African Group


Maxwell Beganim, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

samuel lemma, Civil Society, African Group


samuel lemma, Civil Society, African Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Policy Question 1: How can we ensure affordable and equitable broadband internet services for all, particularly in developing countries and underserved communities?
2. Policy Question 2: How can digital literacy skills be effectively promoted and provided to bridge the digital divide?
3. Policy Question 3: What policies and initiatives can be implemented to encourage marginalized groups, especially students facing electronic device bans in schools, to pursue careers in STEM fields?
4. Policy Question 4: How can emerging technologies be made equally accessible and affordable for underserved and underrepresented communities?

What will participants gain from attending this session? During our session, attendees will gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities of digital inclusion. Engaging discussions and exchanges with experts, policymakers, and practitioners will highlight innovative approaches and best practices for narrowing the digital divide. Real-world case studies will deepen understanding of the impact of digital exclusion and the importance of inclusive access.

Practical strategies, tools, and resources will be shared to empower participants in their efforts to bridge the digital divide. They will be inspired to advocate for digital equity and leave with the knowledge and inspiration to actively contribute to creating a more inclusive digital society. Join us to be informed, inspired, and make a difference in bridging the digital divide.


In the past decade, remarkable progress has been made in connecting people around the world through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the internet. These technologies have become vital for communication, education, financial inclusion, agriculture, and more. However, the urgent need to connect the remaining 2.9 billion offline individuals, as reported by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), highlights the persistent digital divide.

Various factors such as low income, poverty, illiteracy, and inadequate infrastructure contribute to this divide among communities and countries. It is crucial to ensure that all individuals, especially those in developing countries and underserved communities, have meaningful access to the internet and other ICT tools. This includes affordable and equitable broadband internet services, accessible online platforms and content, electronic devices, and digital literacy skills necessary to leverage these technologies effectively.

This session aims to promote a discussion on collaborative efforts among stakeholders to provide capacity building, tools, and resources, such as community ICT centers that offer free access to digital technologies, including hardware, software, and high-speed internet. By sharing best practices and innovative approaches, participants will explore ways to equip citizens with the digital skills and resources needed for innovation, economic development, job creation, and social inclusion.

Furthermore, the session will delve into addressing specific challenges, such as encouraging marginalized groups, particularly students facing bans on electronic devices in schools, to pursue careers in STEM fields. Additionally, it will explore strategies to ensure that emerging technologies are equally accessible and affordable for underserved and underrepresented communities.

Join us in this session as we work towards bridging the digital divide, fostering inclusive access, and empowering communities through collaborative efforts and sustainable solutions.

Expected Outcomes

Our session aims to generate valuable outcomes that serve as a foundation for follow-up activities in bridging the digital divide, promoting inclusive access, and driving sustainable development in the digital era. These outcomes include:

1. Best Practices: Participants will share successful case studies and initiatives that have effectively bridged the digital divide. These examples will be compiled into a resource to guide policymakers, organizations, and communities in implementing similar strategies.

2. Policy Recommendations: Concrete policy recommendations will be formulated to address the digital divide and promote inclusive access. These recommendations will cover areas such as affordable broadband, digital literacy programs, inclusive STEM education, and accessible technologies.

3. Capacity Building: The session will inspire the development of targeted initiatives to enhance digital skills, particularly among underserved communities. Training programs, workshops, and mentorship opportunities will be explored to empower individuals.

Hybrid Format: In a hybrid format, our session fosters an inclusive and interactive environment where stakeholders share knowledge, experiences, and recommendations, aiming to bridge the digital divide and promote inclusive access. Confirmed speakers and organizers will participate in person in Kyoto, Japan, with online participation available via Zoom.

* Session Discussion Facilitation *

1. Opening and Introduction (5 minutes)
The onsite moderator welcomes participants and provides an overview, emphasizing inclusivity and active participation.
2. Speaker Deliberations (30 minutes)
Speakers with expertise in digital inclusion share perspectives, experiences, and recommendations. They highlight successful initiatives and offer insights from various sectors.
3. Audience Engagement and Discussion (20 minutes)
Participants onsite and online actively contribute, sharing ideas, experiences, and recommendations. The moderator facilitates cross-collaboration and diverse perspectives.
4. Synthesis and Wrap-up (5 minutes)
The onsite moderator summarizes key points, expressing gratitude to participants. Next steps and potential collaboration frameworks are mentioned.