Delegates at the 17th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) have called for increased global collaboration in broadening digital inclusion in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in a joint push to promote better connectivity and greater sustainability.
“The goal of universal and meaningful connectivity cannot be addressed through improving coverage alone. By leveraging the lessons learned from these 15 published research projects – and working to ensure access, adoption, affordability and resiliency of broadband services – together we can build back better with broadband,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the incoming ITU Secretary-General.
(TOP: Anne-Rachel Inné, Director of ITU Regional Office for Africa and Dr. Belete Molla, Minister of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia at the report launch).
The remarks were made as representatives from the 15 winning teams (which included two from Kenya) of the ITU Connect2Recover (C2R) Research Competition presented their report findings during a Day 0 session of the IGF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and discussed actionable ways to contribute to digital inclusion during the global recovery.
The research grants to the global competition, launched in July 2021 as the first of its kind under ITU’s flagship global initiative C2R, were supported by Huawei, an ITU-D Sector Member.
“Thanks to the ITU team as well as all the research teams who have made the research competition a success. The work that has gone into these projects is true to the core of Huawei’s mission to leave no one behind in our striving for a fully connected, intelligent world,” said Karl Song, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Huawei, adding that the company “will try to make the most of the insights gained by the research projects and turn selected recommendations into reality”.
A compilation of the summaries of each report, titled Build back better with broadband: Research stories from the front line, was also published at the occasion.
The 15 winning teams represent 43 universities and institutions from 22 countries worldwide, and focused on digital connectivity, resilience, and digital inclusion for education, healthcare, enterprises, job creation, as well as vulnerable groups. Their reports focused on empirical evidence gathered from 17 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Arab States.
The teams were evaluated and selected by an impartial international jury that reviewed 307 proposals from 80 countries.