The Sustainable Development Goals include a number of goals that require the intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), notably in achieving universal identification, more efficient delivery of government services, financial inclusion and job creation. Underlying these goals is target 9c) to significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to internet in LDCs by 2020. While significant progress has been made in this regard, notably in Asia, there is a danger that in Africa, where most of the Least Developed Countries are located (some of them being by affected by Fragility, Conflict, and Violence), this target will be missed, on the dimensions of both access and affordability.
Africa cannot afford to think small nor act slowly. At the current, incremental pace of economic and social advancement, too many of today's youth will continue to be denied the opportunity to live up to their potential. African countries will not be able to create the huge number of new jobs needed to match the coming youth bulge, nor provide alternative livelihoods for farmers displaced by industrialization of agriculture and factory workers displaced by automation.
The rise of digital technologies and the digital economy offers a once in a generation chance to disrupt this trajectory – unlocking new pathways for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services across the territory which would have been unimaginable only a decade ago. However, the window of opportunity is short. The continent will need to act quickly and boldly, or risk being left behind. To become tomorrow's innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, Africa's youth need to be empowered with the digital skills and access to technology, ideas and markets that are essential to thrive in an increasingly digitized global economy. Governments need to find more nimble and effective means of delivering services and interacting with citizens. Businesses need to utilize digitally-centered business models to connect with the hundreds of millions of customers previously out of reach due to geography or low incomes.
To achieve the goal of universal affordable access to ICTs for All Africans will therefore require a sustained and committed effort on the part of governments, the private sector and development partners. In short, what is required is a “digital moonshot" where exceptional and coordinated efforts are made to achieve a seemingly impossible goal, namely to ensure that all Africans have universal and affordable access to ICTs by no later than 2030. To reach this goal and interim goal of doubling broadband connectivity is set by 20201. Universal connectivity is an important pillar of the digital economy moonshot but needs to be complemented by similar efforts on digital platforms, digital financial services, digital skills and entrepreneurship. This working group will only focus on the infrastructure pillar. Work on additional pillars could be engaged in subsequent working groups.
WG comprises the following members: (Pending)
| Commissioners and External Experts|