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Development - other

2018

Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has published a new research report titled Improving Mobile Broadband Quality of Service in Low Middle Income Countries, which examines the quality of internet service on offer across the Global South.The report provides the first set of public available data on upload and download speeds in low-and-middle-income countries.

The report finds that significant disparities exist between the broadband speeds found in the Global North and the Global South, with the median download speed for a user in Africa less than a seventh of the speed available to a user in Western Europe. Featuring insights from Bangladesh, Colombia, Mozambique and Peru, the report outlines a set of recommendations for improving quality of service. Further analysis of the report can be found here.

Re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on the topics of Internet and digital society has successfully concluded its first ever conference Africa in Accra, Ghana dubbed Re:publica Accra. The 2-day conference which took place on the 14-15 December 2018 was organized in collaboration with Impact Hub Accra with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Corporation and Development (BMZ). The conference discussed issues on such topics as Net Neutrality, Data Protection, Civil Rights and other digital and societal issues bothering on ‘Access’, ‘Gender’, ‘Waste’, ‘Future’, ‘Tech for Good’ among others.

The Africa eCommerce Week: Empowering African Economies in the Digital Era was organised from 10 - 14 December 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Union, and the European Union, and hosted by the Government of Kenya. The outcome of the event is the Nairobi Manifesto on the Digital Economy and Inclusive Development in Africa which pinpoints a number of policy recommendations required for digital economy to bring inclusive and sustainable development to Africa and eschew wider inequalities and divides. The Manifesto further underlines how the engagement of all segments of society is significant for e-commerce to make a real and sustained contribution to development. To this aim, cross-cutting policy actions and new public - private partnerships are necessary alongside quality research and statistics to inform such policy actions.

The European Commission launched an annual scoreboard to monitor women's participation in the digital economy. The Women in Digital (WiD) Scoreboard is a tool to measure and assess the participation of women in the digital economy through four types of analysis: 1) evaluating the general characterisation of the performance of individual Member States, 2) pinpointing areas for improvement by analysing individual indicators, 3) assessing progress over time, 4) pointing out the need for improve relevant policy areas. The scorecard revealed a gender gap in all 13 indicators at EU level which is largely manifested in the area of ICT specialist skills and employment; 76 % for ICT specialists and 47 % for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics graduates. Nonetheless, the difference is reduced within the younger age group (16 to 24) between women and men vis-à-vis digital participation; 55% of women compared to 60% of men. This gap is even reversed in certain countries where women overperform men in digital participation. 

The World Economic Forum released its publication Our Shared Digital Future Building an Inclusive, Trustworthy and Sustainable Digital Society that was produced in collaboration with leaders from business, government, academia and civil society. The paper aimed at shaping an agenda to move towards a more inclusive, trustworthy, and sustainable digital future in six shared goals that include universal internet access and adoption, digital transformation, digital identity, governance, cyber resilience, and data. The document reinforces the importance of addressing the digital divide through approaches that go beyond digital access to include digital literacy, digital identity, and a new social contract that allows all classes of society to benefit from the digital economy. Additionally, the paper outlines some digital initiatives and provides common frame around which initiatives can focus and become mutually reinforcing. It further posits a raft of open questions to form the discourse in different forums in 2019.

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted the resolution “Impact of rapid technological change on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets” which urges key bodies and member states to consider how technological changes could impact the 2030 agenda. to this aim, the resolution asked the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development to update their findings, invites them to strengthen their synergies, and mutually reinforce their work on science, technology, and innovation. Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, presented the draft resolution saying that “new technologies can change the destinies of nations. They could also impact public policy to achieve the 2030 Agenda.”

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