Nicol Turner-Lee, Director, The Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings – USA, was one of the major speakers of the 21 Infopoverty World Conference during the Fourth Session.
How do we ensure an intersection between equity, as well as the enjoyment and use of internet?
Statistically speaking, 2\3 of the population has a mobile phone and 4.2 billion people are on social media. As a result of the digital resiliency and the innovation that is coming from the private and public sectors, more and more reliance online tools has been given than the past. People who live in rural areas, people who are elderly, people who look like me, who are not quite able to access the services that are available online are all across the world. We still see these differentials when it comes to the cost of broadband service in Sub Saharan Africa, which they still pay. Not being online is not necessarily a symptom of whether you have a mobile phone or not, you're able to get online via fiber or 5G or not, whether or not you're able to access social media or entertainment applications, being disconnected in this world is a symptom of poverty. And it is a poverty that is not only economically based, but it's one in which we robbed and close the opportunities that are available to individuals who require the most engagement in our civic society, politically and economically, or the young people who need to know the value of 21st century jobs, to be able to be committed to the future of our economy.
My friends, this digital divide is not voluntary.
You do not just need a phone, you also need the financial collateral like a banking account or some other type of debit entry, but you also need the literacy that goes along with it.
“We have the ability as a country; here in the United States in partnership with our international allies, to develop what I think would be the game changer for our world, which is a Global Digital Inclusion Plan.”