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UN praises $4.8 billion in new commitments to enhance global connectivity

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In Short:

The United Nations has raised $4.8 billion in new pledges to close the global digital divide. Around 2.6 billion people are still offline, missing out on the benefits of digitalization. The UN’s ITU aims to raise $100 billion by 2026 and has already reached over $50 billion in pledges. AT&T pledged $3 billion, Canada pledged $1.46 billion, and Elle International pledged $106 million to support digital connectivity initiatives.

UN Secures $4.8 Billion in New Pledges to Close Global Digital Divide

The United Nations announced on Monday that it has received $4.8 billion in new pledges towards closing the global digital divide, bringing the total pledges to over $50 billion. According to data from the International Telecommunications Union, around 2.6 billion people, or one-third of the global population, remained offline in 2023.

Efforts to Bridge the Digital Gap

ITU chief Doreen Bogdan-Martin stated, “Closing the digital divide requires a team effort, and today we scored a huge win for global connectivity.” The ITU has been leading efforts to address the situation where a significant portion of the world’s population has never connected to the internet.

In 2021, the ITU launched the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition to increase digitalization in hard-to-connect communities. The agency aims to raise $100 billion by 2026 and has already secured $50.96 billion in pledges.

New Commitments

During this year’s World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, US telecom giant AT&T pledged $3 billion to help connect 25 million people in underserved areas of the United States by 2030. Additionally, the Canadian government pledged $1.46 billion towards investing in computing infrastructure to support AI businesses and researchers in the country.

Elle International also made three pledges totaling $106 million to improve the quality of life for 20 million women and girls in South Africa through digital platforms and smart solutions.

Future Impact

ITU chief Bogdan-Martin commended the efforts of the pledgers, stating that their contributions will lead to increased access to digital technologies for socioeconomic growth and improved health, among other benefits.

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