U.N. Launches Digital Divide Venture to Reach the World’s Poor
Last month, the United Nations launched a global task force to help build universal interconnectivity and spread the benefits of the digital revolution to the world’s poor. An initiative of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force was set up to work with partners such as regional development banks, international donors and nonprofit organizations to help mobilize resources around specific programs and initiatives.
The task force, which also includes the U.N. Development Programme, the World Bank and the International Telecommunication Union, has representatives from governments, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations and United Nations bodies.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, the secretary-general stressed that since the information and communication technology age had dawned for some, but not for all, the task force faced an important challenge “to help build digital bridges to the billions of people who are now trapped in extreme poverty, untouched by the digital revolution and beyond the reach of the global economy.”
“The new technologies that are changing our world are not a panacea or a magic bullet,” Annan added. “But they are without a doubt enormously powerful tools for development. They create jobs. They are transforming education, health care, commerce, politics and more. They can help in the delivery of humanitarian assistance and even contribute to peace and security.”
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