UN Says Digital Technology Must Serve for Inclusive, Sustainable Development

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Addis Ababa (ENA) November 28/2022 The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Li Junhua said the advancement of digital technology must ultimately serve the broad and sustainable development and leave no one behind.

The High Level Leaders panel discussion was conducted today following 17th Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs said advancing digital inclusion and literacy as well as enhancing and developing digital skills and confidences become the UN top priority.

The UN Under-Secretary-General described policy as the number one problem with regards to affordable, inclusive and sustainable access to the internet.

Therefore he stated; “We could have a sound policy from the government or from the member states. Sound and sustainable intergovernmental norms. Governing the connectivity and digital technology is imperative. As we all know, there is a huge digital divide.”

“But how can we bridge the gap? We can accelerate the implementation plan of the action globally. That is accountability and responsibility for the multilateral organizations like the UN and other regional bodies,” Junhua  said.     

The Under-Secretary-General also stressed the need for private and public engagement to reinforce the transformation of digital technology.

Accordingly, IGF is a network of networks exploring solutions to connecting the unconnected population around the globe, he  noted.

He further stated that the UN supports the integration of IGF activities with the work of the technology facilitation mechanism which has engaged thousands of scientific and technological stakeholders.

On his part, Balcha Reba, Director General at Ethiopian Communications Authority who was the panelist said that to improve basic connectivity to the affordable and meaningful level, policy makers and regulators and other stakeholders can intervene by using tools.

“This can encourage policy and regulatory programs and for me, one of which is introducing computation. When we introduce a competition, we can achieve the quality of service, affordability as well as accessibility and availability of infrastructure.”

In this regard, the director general urged to introduce programs like Public-Private Partnership and private sector involvement and increase the coverage of the network.

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