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.