Millions to benefit from the USD 9 billion commitment to ITU’s universal, meaningful connectivity drive

The ITU welcomes a pledge of USD $9 billion and 1000 additional partners to its Parner2Connect Digital Coalition during the 2024 MWC.

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The Mobile World Congress (MWC), 2024, which takes place between 26 February and February 29 in Barcelona, unveiled a USD 9 billion contribution from mobile operators yesterday to help connect the remaining 2.6 billion people to online services. The new commitment increases the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) existing pledge of some 27 billion (now over 46 billion). Its Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, launched in September 2021, aims to engage stakeholders and onboard resources and collaborations for universal and meaningful global connectivity.

Aside from the stated investments, ITU’s initiative has also attracted over 1,000 new members from various entities, including academia and industry groups, to join its existing 193 member states. The new resources, which will be dispersed over the next 2 to 5 years, will help bridge development gaps in areas such as education, health, and trade.

Why does it matter?

To cover the programmatic requirements of the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, the ITU has a target of USD 100 billion, set to be attained by 2026. The added commitment of finances and human capital at the 2024 MVC signals that the initiative is closer to achieving this goal. And from the big picture angle, the commitments also edges ITU closer to its mission to help bridge the global digital divide, paving a way for the next 2.6 billion people to connect online and access critical resources.