Accelerating Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Digital Development

ITU/South Africa Mission

Session 395

Wednesday, 15 March 2023 15:45–17:00 (UTC+01:00) Room B, CICG, Ground Floor Real-time human captioning High-Level Dialogue


Despite significant investments in ICTs, entrepreneurship and innovation, many countries cannot adapt to the fast-changing digital environment and technological revolutions. Countries need new, more resilient, and forward-thinking approaches to guarantee they can safely navigate a digital world that is increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) and achieve the outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

To bridge the Digital Innovation Divide, we need to empower countries to overcome challenges on their path through digital transformation – unlock their digital potential, build local capabilities in innovation and entrepreneurship, and accelerate their ecosystems' impact on cross-cutting sectors for an inclusive and sustainable society. 

It is imperative to rethink innovation capacity at the national, regional and global levels, including:

1)    countries' capacity for strategic foresight on technology impact,

2)    ability to develop bankable projects without the Silos,

3)    providing support for small and medium enterprises to grow, 

4)    enabling favorable policy conditions that accelerate investment, and 

5)    Enabling access to open innovation and technologies

Nurturing digital innovation and entrepreneurship is a key element to the missing link to closing the digital divide and ongoing efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

To close the growing digital innovation gap, the BDT has recently launched a new framework, the Innovation and entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development, which will support countries in building critical local enablers needed to lead in the changing digital environment. 

A high-level dialogue will follow to address the following questions:

  • What are countries doing to be ahead of the curve?
  • How can we assess the innovation capacity of countries?
  • What can countries do to be the driver of digital innovation?
  • What can countries do to absorb fast-changing ICT-centric technologies?
  • What should partnership look like to accelerate the development of digital innovation capacity?


Dr. Cosmas Zavazava
Dr. Cosmas Zavazava BDT Director ITU Moderator

H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida
H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida Vice Minister for Policy Coordination, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Japan

H.E. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh
H.E. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh Minister Ministry of Digital Transformation of the Republic of Slovenia

H.E. Dr. Stelios Himonas
H.E. Dr. Stelios Himonas Permanent Secretary, Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Republic of Cyprus

Hon. Ms. Neema Kichiki Lugangira
Hon. Ms. Neema Kichiki Lugangira Member of Parliament and Founder of Omuka Hub Parliament of Tanzania, United Republic of Tanzania

Ms. Mei Lin Fung
Ms. Mei Lin Fung Chair and Co-Founder People-Centered Internet, USA

H.E Mr. Indramani Pandey
H.E Mr. Indramani Pandey Ambassador and the Permanent Representative of India to the UN Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva

H.E. Mr. Phillemon Mapulane
H.E. Mr. Phillemon Mapulane Deputy Minister, Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies South Africa

Digital Economy Digital Transformation Environment
WSIS Action Lines
  • AL C1 logo C1. The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
  • AL C3 logo C3. Access to information and knowledge
  • AL C6 logo C6. Enabling environment
  • AL C11 logo C11. International and regional cooperation
Sustainable Development Goals
  • Goal 8 logo Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9 logo Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 17 logo Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development