ITU Blog: Full Digital Inclusion by 2020: Challenges and Opportunities

By Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General
“The internet is for everyone and therefore needs to be available for everyone,” Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society, said when speaking at the second Connect 2020 roundtable. Yet there are both challenges and opportunities for realizing the ambitious task of creating a fully inclusive Internet Society as identified in Goal 2 of the Connect 2020 framework, ‘Inclusiveness – bridge the digital divide and provide broadband for all’.

This is about being committed to ensuring that everyone without exception benefits from ICTs. Under this Goal ITU will work towards global ICT access, ICT accessibility, affordability in all countries and regions and by all peoples, including marginalized and vulnerable populations, such as women, children, people with different income levels, Indigenous Peoples, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

At the 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference, I had the pleasure of being joined at the second Connect 2020 roundtable by experts in their field – H.E. Rebecca Okwaci, Minister for Telecommunications and Postal Services, South Sudan; Kathy Brown, President and CEO, Internet Society; Mindel De La Torre, Chief of the International Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (FCC); and Miguel Raimilla, Executive Director, Foundation – to better understand the barriers to achieving this goal. These were identified in our discussion as infrastructure, affordability and capacity building.

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