The World Bank, WEF, GSMA, and ITU mobilised in fight against COVID-19
The finance and information and communication technology (ICT) ministers, ICT regulators, and CEOs of telecom and technology companies from around the world participated in a virtual workshop organised by the World Bank, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the global mobile industry association (GSMA), and the World Economic Forum (WEF). The main objective of the workshop was to agree on an action plan to improve digital technologies and infrastructure to better support citizens, governments, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The action plan pinpointed key areas for action to maintain connectivity during COVID-19: a) promoting network resilience; b) ensuring access and affordability of digital services; c) supporting compliance with social distancing principles while providing vital connectivity; d) leveraging e-health, telemedicine, and Big Data to address the health crisis; and e) ensuring institutional frameworks are fit for purpose. ‘ITU figures reveal that 3.6 billion people remain totally cut-off from the internet. Billions more struggle with connectivity that is woefully insufficient. COVID-19 has thrown into sharp relief the connectivity chasm we call the digital divide. And it has refocused our minds on why bridging this chasm and bringing affordable access to all is so crucially important to ensuring no-one is left behind,’ noted ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director Doreen Bogdan-Martin.