The LDC conference calls for a fairer digital transformation

On Monday, a series of roundtables allowed world leaders to discuss two of the most fundamental obstacles facing LDCs: how to make better use of science, technology and innovation (STI) and encourage structural changes that can help transform real Overcoming obstacles faced by people on the fringes of society.

ITS plays a crucial role in the efforts of least developed countries to eradicate poverty, move towards sustainable development and become globally competitive. However, these vulnerable countries are often unable to reap the full economic and social benefits of technological development due to structural constraints, as there are significant disparities between least developed countries and other countries.

The reality and implications of existing inequalities are clear to millions of people living in LDCs: the internet is no use if you can’t get online, and it doesn’t matter that you can get online if you don’t know how it goes Use a browser.

The solution, according to many speakers on Monday, is to find ways not only to connect those left behind, but also to sustainably close the gap and foster the conditions for more inclusive digital access.

A growing digital divide

The new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) report shows that the digital divide between LDCs and the rest of the world is indeed showing no signs of narrowing. While the proportion of the population of LDCs using the internet has increased from 4% to 36% since 2011, the fact remains that two-thirds of the population is still offline.

According to research presented in the ITU study titled Facts and figures on the least developed countriesaround 407 million people in LDCs will use the internet in 2022. The 720 million people still offline in LDCs represent 27% of the world’s offline population, while the population of LDCs accounts for only 14% of the world’s population.

The report also reveals that over the past decade, the challenge of bringing communities online has become more complex than just making physical connections. Even among those who could access the internet, many do not due to barriers ranging from awareness to skill to cost.

Technological advances have helped this job center in Nouakchott, Mauritania to reach more job seekers.

© UNDP Mauritania/Freya Morales

Technological advances have helped this job center in Nouakchott, Mauritania to reach more job seekers.

Make digital transformation sustainable

The Doha Plan of Action (DPoA) is a milestone in this regard. This blueprint for renewed engagement between LDCs and their development partners, including the private sector, civil society and governments at all levels, calls on those partners to provide additional and significant support to LDCs “to ensure access to affordable and reliable broadband and cellular networks and ensure WiFi. Fi”.

“The digital development of LDCs through science, technology and innovation is not just an opportunity but a moral imperative,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General, during one of the key roundtables organized on Monday as part of the LDC5 Conference.

“I believe it is our responsibility to understand connectivity and make digital transformation sustainable,” she added.

Throughout the conference, which ends on March 9th, the ITU intends to highlight the importance of digital collaboration to accelerate the achievement of the Doha Action Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including through public-private partnerships such as the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition. This coalition has already mobilized more than 600 pledges worth nearly $30 billion.

A partnership for inclusive digitization

“There are so many young people… more than 50% of LDCs are under 19 years old. This is the global workforce of the future,” he said UN news Justin Spelhaug, vice president and global head/tech for social impact at Microsoft Philanthropies.

“It’s important that companies like Microsoft and other private sector companies really look at the development of these countries with the UN in partnership with governments to make a difference,” he added.

Mr. Spelhaug referred to the World Bank’s Digital Development Partnership Program, which aims to improve access to technology, digital public goods, broadband services and digital capacity-building services in the world’s least developed countries.

“The program brings together a few key elements and an affordable business model to create greater access to technology. It brings together digital public goods under the GitHub umbrella to provide governments with the services they need, open-source solutions or otherwise,” he said.

This partnership will also enable the United Nations to pursue its goals of creating a more prosperous world. Mr. Spelhaug believes that with the help of this program, the next LDC conference will see a significant reduction in the number of countries in this category.

A new generation of partnerships for LDCs

The private sector forum, which opened at the LDC5 conference on Sunday, aims to improve access to finance, create jobs, transfer technology and promote long-term sustainability in LDCs.

On Monday, the forum also focused on improving digital connectivity as the engine of progress in LDCs, as well as improving agricultural and rural development.

“In the spirit of leaving no one behind, the Private Sector Forum represents an important opportunity to mobilize private sector support for the least developed countries to reach their full potential,” said Rabab Fatima, Secretary General of the LDC5.

“By fostering collaboration and partnerships, we can leverage the resources, expertise and entrepreneurship of the private sector to help least developed countries meet development challenges and build a more prosperous future for their citizens,” Ms. Fatima added , which is also the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLS).

During the forum, panel discussions and interactive sessions focused on partnerships with the private sector in the areas of sustainable energy, agriculture, digital connectivity, climate change and sustainable tourism.

Networking opportunities allow attendees to share best practices, exchange ideas and find solutions to foster private sector engagement in LDCs.

New partnerships for LDCs will also be announced at the forum by the international business community, government officials and United Nations officials.

The LDC5 Forum, themed “From Potential to Posterity”, provides a once-a-decade opportunity to accelerate sustainable development where international assistance is most needed and to realize the full potential of the 46 least developed countries.

Action in Doha will continue on Tuesday, March 7, when the conference is scheduled to discuss the issue of least developed countries’ participation in world trade, education and youth development.

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