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Global Connect Initiative

US Department of State

More than four billion people—nearly 60 percent of people globally—lack broadband internet access.  In some countries, the share of people without acces is as high as 95 percent of the population.  In today’s world, internet access is no longer a luxury–it is an absolutely essential part of economic growth and development, like roads, ports, and electricity.

With this in mind, the U.S. Department of State has launched the Global Connect Initiative to promote and support action from key stakeholders, including governments, industry, civil society, and the technical community, to help bring an additional 1.5 billion people online by 2020.  Under this initiative, every partner country or stakeholder contributes what they can to bring us towards these goals, be it infrastructure technology, best regulatory practices, great applications, or financial or technical support in these areas.  Global Connect Initiative supporters also subscribe to a set of Core Connectivity Principles. 

Through this effort, we will work together to encourage all countries to integrate Internet connectivity as a key part of their own national development strategies; to ensure that international development institutions, such as multilateral development banks and development agencies, prioritize digital access; and to catalyze and support innovative industry-driven solutions to extend connectivity.

This session will introduce participants to the Global Connect Initiative, highlighting the outcomes of the recent high level meeting on the margins of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meeting and addressing the longer term goals of the initiative.

Speakers / panellists
  • David Renz, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of State, Office of International Communications and Information Policy

Mr. Renz is a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service whose area of focus is economic policy.   He has extensive experience serving in developing countries, including leading U.S. embassy economic sections in Kenya, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, where he has supported policies to support private sector investment in core infrastructure.  Prior to joining the Department of State, Mr. Renz was an attorney in private practice with a focus on international trade and distribution law. He earned his BA in history and philosophy in 1979 at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia and his law degree in 1982 from the Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, D.C.

Link to WSIS Action Lines
  • C2. Information and communication infrastructure

Connecting an additional 1.5 billion people to the internet by 2020 is an ambitious goal with profound economic and development implications. The Global Connect Initiative is helping to promote this goal by changing policy makers’ perception of broadband connectivity to recognize it as core infrastructure that is as important and transportation and power infrastructure to economic growth and development.

Link to the Sustainable Development Process
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Expanding access to broadband connections is foundational to fully exploiting the power of ICT to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Global Connect Initiative brings together policy makers, international development resources and private stakeholders to promote prioritization and accelerated deployment of connectivity infrastructure.

Session 225
  • Thursday, 13:15 – 14:00
  • Room K1, ITU Montbrillant
  • Information Session

WSIS Forum 2016 | WSIS Action Lines: Supporting the Implementation of SDGs
2–6 May 2016, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland