ITU Newsletter

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“Change has been slow and we need to progress fast,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao about making the online world a safer place for children everywhere on Safer Internet Day.

Meanwhile, here are your key ICT trends and insights this week: new numbers show rapid mobile money growth; how Snap's initial public offering (IPO) could impact the tech world; and can AI prevent childhood blindness? 


ITU Newsletter
ICTs for the environment Machine learning is fueling new solutions to protect life below water from warming oceans and overfishing. This is just one way that artificial intelligence can help accelerate the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs). Learn more about #ICT4SDG here.

ICT Trends

Mobile money: Global mobile wallet spending is expected to grow 32% in 2017; Apple Pay transactions grew by 500% year-over-year; and PayPal’s mobile payment transactions grew 55%. Meanwhile, Atlas Mara is set to launch mVisa in several countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

Financial inclusion: ITU recently asked if enough is being done to protect vulnerable users of mobile money. India is now assessing the impact of regulations to implement a mobile wallet insurance framework. [Read more about ITU's work on digital financial inclusion.]

Snap's IPO (filed last week targeting a $20-25 billion valuation) is tech's first big initial public offering for 2017 and is expected to be the largest since Facebook, which is clearly worried about Snapchat and actively trying to outflank the rival app in emerging markets such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia. The IPO has fueled fresh discussion about why Snapchat is different from Silicon Valley tech titans.


Broadband: Ajit Pai, the new Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will create a new broadband advisory committee aimed at accelerating the deployment of high-speed internet access across the US. Meanwhile, should the Philippines look to their neighbours to help them craft their first National Broadband Plan? [Learn more about The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.]

Ride hailing: Grab announced their biggest investment to date: USD700 million to expand in Indonesia over the next four years. Meanwhile, Lyft surpassed Uber in downloads for the first time as Uber’s flying car ambitions get off the ground.



Can AI help prevent childhood blindness? Researchers in China have developed an artificial intelligence programme that can diagnose congenital cataracts more accurately than human doctors. Data collected could help spur new research on how to treat this rare disease, writes Ben Panko.

Pakistan’s startup ambitions Tech investments are rolling in, but will Pakistan’s complex and opaque regulatory environment squash entrepreneurial dreams before they are realised, asks Osman Husain.

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