The Road to Addis - Connect2Include (Part 2)
Digital technology is one of the core enablers in the past towards a brighter, more resilient and inclusive future. In these exceptional times that we live in, digital technology can radically transform lives and help the world rapidly recover for what has been lost due to COVID 19 pandemic. However, the road to technological advancement is made challenging, especially in Developing Countries such as hours because of many factors. Chief among the challenges is the ever-growing inequalities within our communities.
This disparity manifests itself in terms of access to affordable and high-quality technology, as well as the know how and education in utilizing digital technologies. Because of this, we find ourselves unable to improve the quality of life of our people and using digital technology to ensure social, political, and economic development. Therefore, the concept of digital inclusion is of paramount importance to Ethiopia. Digital inclusion as you know has two basic underlying concepts, access to affordable and high-quality technology, and the digital literacy competency that is needed to utilize the technology efficiently. As a concept, inclusion or inclusivity (Garbled audio).
As such, projects, programmes, regulations, systems, and more specifically digital skills and competency development problems should all be seen through the lens of inclusivity and ensure that no one is left behind. However, it remains a sad reality that half of the planet remains unconnected, and doesn't benefit from the facilities and services provided by digital technology. The gender gap in global Internet usage is a stark example of how digital divides reflect and amplify existing social, cultural.
All men use the Internet and women. Therefore, inclusion is in itself a goal in addition to being a powerful enabler. Leaving no one behind in the digital world means ensuring that technology is people centered. This encompasses that no one is offline due to the lack of connectivity or due to the lack of accessibility of the digital transformation, products and services. This session of the Road to Addis series that we are launching today aims to address the specific needs of women and girls, youth and elderly, persons with disabilities, children and people living in remote areas to achieve universal connectivity. As a milestone, the Connect2Include session will provide all of the necessary answers to ensure that no one is left out in this moment for bridging the digital divide and gender gap with the transformative powers of information technology.
Ethiopia's first ever digital strategy, digital literacy 2025 has inclusive prosperity as one of its aim of its main objectives. The strategy mainstreams inclusivity in every activity and projects of the strategy. Ethiopia is committed though digital inclusion in many ways among which is ensuring the connectivity is a reality for every citizen within its borders. To achieve this, Ethiopia is embarking on bold reforms in the technology sector. Let me share two primary reforms briefly that the Government is currently working on. These reforms are at various stages.
One of the reforms is for the sector, the Government has announced its intention to liberalize the Telecom Sector and the process is under way. The second is reform for infrastructure and service suppression for intertelecom. It is being considered to leverage cost and management efficiencies. By taking such bold innovative steps, Ethiopia will address critical gaps through high level political involvement to develop comprehensive roadmap and regulations for the Telecom Sector including for Telecom Sector liberalization as spoke earlier.
In conclusion, observing the range of participants this event brings together, I believe that there is perspectives and voices are represented and the collective wisdom required to untangle the complex digital inclusion problems is present. I'm certain that this event and the series of events that it is preceding will not only produce solutions but also draw out practical avenues for their timely and effective implementation of our digital inclusion agenda. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers from all corners of the globe and look forward to welcoming you all to Ethiopia, the first African nation to host the World Telecommunication Development Conference event in November 2021. See you then, and I thank you for your attention.
Thank you so much, Your Excellency, it's an honour to have you with us today. So, we are going to do a poll quickly now, just to break the ice and test your knowledge about some of the topics we will be discussing. So the first question, of the total world population, how many currently live with some form of disability? 200 million, 500 million, 750 million or over 1 billion. The second question, how many young people below 25 do not have fixed broadband Internet access at home, 500 million, 1.3 billion, 2.2 billion or 3 billion which I think may
not yet be on your screen. Of the 3.7 billion people currently unconnected, how many do you think are women, 1.3 billion, 1.8 billion, 2 billion or 2.5 billion. So we will give you a second to answer the questions and then I will tell you what the right answer is. We will see what you thought.
So go ahead and select an answer for each of the three questions. So we see the results. Okay.
You are a well-informed group. The majority said 1 billion for the first question and that's the correct answer. 1 billion people in the world currently live with some form of disability. For the second question, you also, the majority of you also got it right, 2.2 billion people below 25 do not have fixed broadband Internet access at home.
And on the final question about women, of the unconnected people in the world, you are, I guess, a little bit more pessimistic than necessary. It's still a terrible figure of 2 billion, but it's not 2.5 billion. So there is a little bit of good news. And to give us a little more data, we are going to go to the data room with Doreen who is going to tell us more about the facts and figures of digital inclusion.
Thank you, David. Of course, Data is vital to effective decision making, especially when seeking to address the needs of specific target groups. There is an urban rural divide in access and use of ICTs.
Part of it is infrastructure. Globally, 95% of people living in urban areas have access to a 4G network, but only 71% in rural areas. But the divide is not only about infrastructure. Globally, 72% of households in urban areas have Internet access at home, compared with only 37% in rural areas. In LDCs, these figures stand at 25% and 10%.
But in addition to the urban rural divide, but there is also an access vs usage divide. This tells us that there are more factors at play: factors like affordability, skills, content, and level of education. Let's look now at that usage.
We know that young people are enthusiastic embracers of the Internet, and our numbers confirm that. Globally about 51% of people are using the Internet, but among the 15 24 years old, in places where connectivity is available and affordable, this figure is almost 70%. This is encouraging, especially in view of the fast growing youth demographic in much of the developing world, where digital technologies have the potential to become a major accelerator of economic growth and an important driver of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Another well known divide is the gender divide. critical topic as we meet here during CSW. Globally, 48% of all women were using the Internet in 2019, compared with 55% of all men.
In developed countries, the gap has almost disappeared, but in developing countries there is still a substantial gap, and even more so in LDCs. Last but not least, I come to another divide, which we all saw growing at an accelerated pace during the pandemic: the learning divide. I personally find this one very troubling. At the peak of the pandemic, more than 190 countries closed the doors of their schools to 94% of learners worldwide, creating the largest mass disruption of education in history.
Many governments did an overnight shift to online learning, but the reality is that, globally, 2 in 3 children and young people do not have fixed broadband access at home to continue their education. As I mentioned earlier, data is critical, and lack of data continues to represent a major hurdle for public policy development. Data tells us where we were, where we are and where we ought to be. We need more and better data and targets for digital connectivity and affordability, but also metrics to measure the digital inclusion of all groups. We also need to link data to people and to real stories like the ones we are going to hear today from our expert panelists. Without further ado, I give now the floor back to you.
Thank you, Doreen. We are going to start with Emilce Portillo who will be joining us from Paraguay and will be speaking in Spanish. You must switch to the English Channel if you wish to continue listening to the session in English, and you will see there is an interpretation control in the lower right of the bottom bar of your Zoom interface. So what would your life look like without access to ICTs? Hello. Good afternoon, good morning to everyone.
So to continue with my reply, I think that my life without ICTs would be limited because if I try to imagine that, I see that I would be deprived of rapid access to information and to the many sources of knowledge that there are. I think I wouldn't be as motivated to move towards innovation, creativity, and I wouldn't be able to communicate as easily with people around me. And I think in terms of access to education, I think it would limit the ability to develop new technical capacities.
But if we were to imagine that, I think I would include one condition of being a member of an indigenous community or living in a rural area in the interior of my country, I think that would be worse, because in our country, we have two official languages, Spanish and Guarani. 80% of the population of Paraguay speaks Guarani. So that is seen more clearly in the interior of the country. So I think I would be isolated and deprived to the right to access opportunities which would help me to improve my quality of life. So I would like to highlight the following, that while I'm trying to imagine that scenario, there are people in my country and in many other countries who are living this as a reality. And so I think that without ICTs, to conclude, I wouldn't have the opportunity to develop new skills and I wouldn't be able to take part in the Americas Girls Can Code program which helped us with Google Android development, and it was an extraordinary and enriching experience, and I also remember that it wouldn't have made it possible for me to share with you today.
So thank you, and over. Thank you, Emilce. Let me ask the same question to Emma Randall who is the ITU youth representative. Emma, for you, what would life look like without access to ICTs? Hello, everyone, my name is Emma Randall and I'm a 23 year old masters students pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. My life without ICTs would be unrecognizable for many years, but today I want to talk about three, socializing, education and work opportunities. Firstly, like many young people, my social life is heavily reliant on ICTs.
Whether this be texting a friend to meet for a walk or organising an event with my family around the world, ICTs help me to stay connected to the people I care about. Thinking about the value ICTs have to help us engage with larger communities leads me to education. ICTs provide us with access to a boundless knowledge and global insight. As an engineer and a student, I use ICTs every day. In fact, my university just passed the one year milestone of operating almost completely remotely.
This past year has shown that although we all know ICTs are not always a perfect substitute for in person, they can enable remote education, which is crucial right now to keeping students engaged. Not having ICTs would impact everyone, but especially young people with developing interests, skills and values. Building on this, ICTs facilitate innovative employment opportunities. Personally, without ICTs, I would not be able to participate in my current job. As most of my colleagues are based in Geneva, and I'm based in Canada.
I really enjoy working with the ITU as part of the generation connect team. Every day I'm seeing how ICTs can empower youth to help solve the problems of the world and work towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Young people right now are growing up in a digital world and it is essential that we have meaningful continual impact on the development of this world. The work that ITU is doing is vital to making this a reality and I am so excited to be a part of it. Thank you. Thank you so much, Emma.
Now, I would like to ask Joanne O'Riordan the same question, Joanne is somebody who knows a lot about overcoming barriers, so, Joanne, what would your life be like without access to ICTs? Thanks, David, and thanks, everyone, for inviting me here. So I was born with a rare condition known as Tetra-Amelia meaning I was born without all of my limbs. I went to school Luke a normal child. My parents made sure that everything was according to plan and at the age of 8 I learned that I had to go onto a computer in order to complete my work. So I had to learn how to type and I do that simply with a big viral here and I put it in the mouth and bang it away other than the keyboard. I can type 42 words a minute.
I had to learn how to basically code, which wasn't cool for an 8 year old. A woman by the name of Kristin owe Haney, she did not know me. She developed a software we now take for granted. She was one of the first people in the island of the Ireland to put together hyperlinks to the first person to put on Adobe Acrobat and the first person to install Microsoft Word for every school so every student could upload work in that format. So that doesn't exist in 2004. So now in schools when I see my cousins come home with iPads and they are doing their work, a part of me is incredibly jealous, but I suppose for me, technology has opened up endless opportunities.
I can connect to the likes of you all around the world. Now, with obviously COVID 19, I can continue to drive home the mission of access, access into employment, access into education, access into healthcare, and as Doreen mentioned earlier, I am actually one of the, I think it was 75% of rural people in the world who don't have direct access to broadband. So for the first time in my nine years since I last appeared at the United Nations, I had no voice. I was cut off. I couldn't drive home my mission of access. So I had to move basically into the town centre to get new WIFI.
My mission and ask for everyone here today is to understand as we move into the future, broadband is going to be as vital to the social and economic advancement like motorways were or dams or electricity were in similar eras. I think similar to the 20th century, we need to make sure that national planning and public and private sector investments are involved. In Ireland I saw a school in Dublin invest an entire $2.2 million into an online resource program for teaching. Now, $2.2 million is not something we in the bank every day, and it turns out that was
a fee-paying school. So I would encourage everyone here to make sure it's accessible. I would encourage everyone to make sure that the investment is done correctly, and I would encourage those who are putting in the investment to the digital infrastructure to make sure that there are no unfair disparities and to create a human interaction so that when people are given the tech that they have someone they can go back to and say, listen, I don't know how to copy and paste or anything like that. So I think that's for me the most important thing. Hello, you are a great exponent of these issues.
Thank you. We will go to speakers who will get a chance to comment on anything they have heard and I will ask a specific question. I will start with someone we are especially honored to have with us, the UN Undersecretary General and Executive Director of UN Women, Tomas Lamanauskas.
What is the social and economic impact of having more women online and feel free to comment on anything you have heard from our other speakers? Thank you very much, David. Greetings to everyone. Thank you so much to these brilliant speakers who have just spoken. I feel like I have nothing to say because everybody has made such important points. Thank you so much for giving us so much evidence on the importance of the subject we are discussing today.
For women and girls to be online is a critical enabler for social and economic transformation and development because they can access information if they are connected and they can access education and they can access services. As Doreen pointed out, access to education is really one area that is troubling. They have a lost generation after we worked so hard in the last two decades especially to bring girls to school and to make sure that they complete their secondary education.
Of course, there is access to services such as the grants from Government, health services, and we also know that in particular young adults, women use this a lot for their small businesses, their promotion, and different ways of getting some income. Online mobile money also is very important. It is important especially for low-income users as well as young people and entrepreneurs and women's financial autonomy, when women are financially autonomous, they can escape gender based violence. So this is a life line to really staying alive in some cases. Right now, 1.7 billion more than half of whom are women remain financially excluded from
the digital economy. This can mean essential cash transfer programmes do not reach women. Think of women who depend on tests that are sent to them by members of their family who are working abroad who live on remittances. Think of those refugees also who also depend on some transfers that are coming from people who give them support.
So this whole area of banking is potentially one big area for all of us. UN Women has just joined Better Cash Alliance in order to help change financial inclusion. Technology is also lifesaving. Numerous stories about how women were able to (Garbled audio).
And, of course, we also want to make sure that we are let women, children, and everyone who we are encouraging to connect about the dangers as well as staying connected, about paying attention to fake news and false information because especially in health, health disinformation is not without victims. So we need to be really vigilant to make sure that we intervene where we see health disinformation. 433 million women are unconnected in middle and low income countries, and 1 of 5 million fewer women are on mobile phone compared with men. Again, that is for us to attend to and, of course, the global Internet gap is at 17%. The COVID 19 is the first major pandemic on the social media age. I just want us who are here on this platform right now, if we were not connected in this pandemic, where we have been? And I think that just answers the question of how important the moment is, so you can imagine those people who are not connected, because those people exist who have lived through this pandemic without the benefit of connectivity.
So we all have to roll up our sleeves, in generation equality, we are hoping that we do our best to fast track the closing of the gap in all its dimensions, generation equality is also critical to make sure that we continuously encourage Governments and give them evidence that will show them where the gaps exist and where we need to make haste. We are glad that ITU is part of generation equality together with UNICEF from the UN family, and in other private sector and civil society partners. Hopefully we will be seeing you again in the different activities both on the road and in Addis. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Tomas Lamanauskas, and I think the presence of five impressive women on the screen now is testimony to something, it's good that I am the only guy here aside from our highly energetic interpreter. Next, I would like to ask Judith Williams who is a major business leader at SAP, what is the contribution that diversity makes to SAP as an organisation so welcome, and feel free to comment on anything you have heard, Judith, thank you so much. Thank you so much, and thank you for having me. At SAP diversity is for us a driver of innovation, and we have set a target to be the most inclusive software on the planet. Our mission at SAP is to make the world run better and improve people's lives and we are only able to do that if we have a diverse and inclusive workforce where we empower people to run at their best. So what that means is we have over 150 nationalities represented at SAP.
We have over 400,000 customers. And in order to do service to our customers we have to make sure that we are going to reach those companies to think about that not only in terms of demographics and making sure we have a proactive sourcing strategy for women, for people of color, for different geographies, but also in how we think about the accessibility of our products. We have a roadmap (Garbled audio). We know we have colleagues who have challenges.
So my team is tasked with making sure that we have a standard for workplace accessibility. We also have some special programmes to bring different types of talent into SAP. One program we are particularly proud of is our autism at work program. And this is a program that we have had in place since 2014, and we look at it as a program which removes the barriers for success for people with autism to join us at SAP. So we have thought about our hiring process, we have thought about our onboarding process to help people with autism so they can be successful. We think of this as not a program that we are giving out, but an underleveraged talent source that brings great value to us at SAP.
And in fact, in 2019 or every year, we give our Hasso Plattner Founders' Award for innovation. And the winner in 2020 was a young man who came in through our autism at work program. Imagine the innovation we would have missed out on had we not had this view that people need to, that we need to look at everyone. The talent is evenly distributed among populations even if opportunity is not.
And it's not I would say another area where we have really focused at SAP is on promoting at the time careers of women and also providing digital education to young girls. Our CSR strategy is all about extending digital education globally, primarily to young girls but also to underserved communities, and then we think a lot about recruiting early talent onto more senior talent making sure that we have a target to have gender equity. We have a target to reach gender parity at SAP by 2030. That's all of our workforce. We also have some intermediate goals we want to get to 30% women in leadership by the end of 2022.
So we set ambitious targets, we build an inclusive workplace, and we make sure that we communicate that diversity is our reality, inclusion is a choice, and we ask all of our employees to make this choice every day. That's really what differentiates us and makes us an innovative company. Wow, Judith, thank you so much.
That was impressive and SAP has been a leader in many of these areas for a long time. Another business leader from a major tech company, Claudia Gordon of T Mobile Accessibility. So, Claudia, how does T Mobile help people with disabilities gain access to ICTs and technology? Let me say first, good morning, everyone, it's bright and early in the U.S. I'm in Washington DC and it's nice and early in the morning. Before I answer the question that you asked, I want to touch very briefly on the prior discussion. When people were talking about life without ICT, as a deaf person, that is so striking to me.
I can't imagine life without these tools. I grew up on the island of Jamaica. So thinking about that and my background, Jamaica is still considered a diplomatic country. I go back every year and I can see the disparity or gap there.
When I compare life there to my life in America, it's so different. So I think we need to recognize it's very important. Access to ICT is more than just a privilege. I think it should be considered a right, especially for those with disabilities. ICTs empower us as everyone else on the panel has said, ICTs give us a sense of independence. We are independent because of these.
We are able to access information, we are able to make informed decisions because of ICTs. Without access to ICT, I probably would not be able to achieve my educational aspirations. I would wouldn't have been able to become an attorney.
I also gain access to gainful employment, and there are so many people around the world today who are in the same position as me, and really need ICTs for these critical skills. We need to think not only about high tech, but also low tech. For example, my home country of Jamaica, there is still no captioning on television there. So imagine during the pandemic, lifesaving health information has been shared nightly on the news, breaking news, press briefings, but there is no access for those who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf blind because that information isn't captioned. So during this entire pandemic that's been an issue. When we consider ICTs, I think we need to consider them broadly, and think about all types of disabilities.
And then finally, we must innovate, not for people with disabilities, but with people with disabilities. People with disabilities know what solutions work for them, and we need to be included. I have seen some innovations, for example, there are some gloves that are supposed to be able to read sign language, and deaf people who use sign language kind of looked at that and thought, okay, who developed this? You know, it's just obviously it wasn't inclusive. And you want to, we go, okay, I don't think that will work, yet how much time and resources were put into that? (No audio).
I have lost audio, can others hear the audio. Please innovate with people with disabilities one moment. The audio went out. Is it back on now, testing? It's on now, I think we missed about 15 or 20 seconds.
And this is Claudia speaking. Okay. I apologize for that. I will answer your question now.
T Mobile is very, I am so proud to work for T Mobile. It is so committed to diversity, equity and inclusion as a corporation. And they include people with disabilities as part of the equation. There are several things that T Mobile is doing and has done.
We provide a wide range of products and services that break down or reduce communication barriers for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, have speech disabilities or intellectual disabilities. For example, we have caption telephones. These are good for people who may be older and have a hearing loss, but still want to use a traditional telephone. So they miss some of what's heard on the phone, but they can read what was said while they are listening to it.
We also provide some traditional services and traditional forms. We have Internet protocol relay. This is using an intermediary who I as a deaf person would call that agent or operator, Communication Assistant, I would give them the telephone number of the person that I want to call and then the intermediary can relay the call between the two parties.
Deaf blind can also make phone calls using this service, and it's compatible with Braille readers. So deaf blind people are particularly dependent on that service. Video relay service. Obviously requires sight. So someone without sight can't use video relay service.
We provide Conference captioning services. An example of that is let's say, especially during the pandemic, when everyone was working remotely, this service allows remote workers to participate in Conference calls with captions. I could go on and on. Here in the U.S., we have the FCC, the Federal Communication Commission and we also have the ADA, the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Title 4 of that requires 24/7 relay service, so it must be available at all times. That's to bring functional equivalency and functional access to people with a disability because people with disabilities need access on par to those without disabilities to the telecommunications infrastructure. So we have a wide range of products and services and these are free to our end users because they are funded through a centralized fund here in the U.S., and that's managed by the Federal Communications Commission, which I recently mentioned.
So an important point I think when we think about ICT and think about cost, the cost must be affordable. I mean, growing up, I moved from Jamaica to New York. I never got a captioning box for the television. Captioning wasn't built into televisions like it is today. I got my first captioning box when I was 18.
My mom couldn't afford it before that. And then I got my first TTY machine to make telephone calls when I was 20. I was living in New York City, but I was from a poor family, so technology was not affordable to us. So I'm very thankful to the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Individuals who need access like this now can get these tools free of cost. And then I had one final point I wanted to make, when we talk about the digital divide, there is a project that we are very proud of at T Mobile calls the 10 million project. It's an initiative to end that gap between school and home and that digital divide. There are millions of households now with children, about 15% who do not have Internet access. So this 10 million project is set up to invest $10.7 million will be invested to provide
free WIFI. So we are providing free hot spots. So these families who are eligible can qualify for the program and get this Internet access.
So many of these families, you know, include children or young adults with disabilities. If you would like to learn more about that project, please go online, just Google that project, 10 million, because we are very, very proud of that. And last but not least, we are on the road to being the largest 5G provider and once 5G is available, so many ICT possibilities will have doors open. Thank you. Wonderful, thank you, Claudia.
What an incredible segment. Every one of you said fantastic things, thank you, thank you, thank you. So now we are going to move into a quick segment where we are going to look at a short video on the digital inclusion of indigenous people. So let's roll that video.
Leaving no one behind means ensuring that technology is people centered and developed from the bottom up; in compliance with universal design, and catering for the abilities and needs of all communities including those of the elderly and indigenous peoples. "Many times, these technologies are implemented in communities without considering their own ways of knowing, feeling, exchanging." Digital inclusion is a goal in itself and also a powerful enabler. When technology is built and deployed considering the needs and values of these communities, it could become a transformative force for cultural preservation, self-determination, and empowerment. "This training process brings to my community basic knowledge so that we as a community do not have to depend on someone else.. Especially from the outside."
Technology needs to be put in the hands of the people who are going to use it.. but for that. Training and Capacity Building are key. ITU, in collaboration with other institutions has been carrying out comprehensive training programs for indigenous peoples and in so fulfilling the mandate of its members and stakeholders. Innovation, Investment and Leadership are also needed to scale bottom-up initiatives. "What we want to achieve is a critical vision of technologies, knowledge on how to handle them, so they can be appropriated and transformed to the extent that the community wants to solve issues or achieve their dreams…" Want to know more? Visit our website.
Partner with us and let us work together to leave no one behind and no one offline. That was a beautiful video. There have been great questions. Doreen, did you want to come on and answer a question right now? David, I think I will jump in later. I know we are running slightly behind, but please go ahead. My apologies.
Yes, we are running behind, but we are getting great stuff. So what we now are going to talk about is how do we ensure that technology is people centred and developed from the bottom up, very pertinent, and also what does it mean for specific target groups? So our next panelist, Michael Hodin, leads the Global Coalition on Aging. Michael, what concrete actions do you think should be taken and can be taken to ensure access and accessibility for the ICTs for older people which probably includes myself, by the way? Well, thank you, David. And it's a pleasure to be here and to be part of this extraordinary event. We thank everyone. Let me answer the question by reminding how you opened, David, which is you said here we are on Zoom.
You know, Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Wan. As I understand it, an American who came here from China. It is that innovation that has now enabled us to, one of the platforms to be where we are during 2020 and now 2021 in this pandemic. The point I would suggest we keep in mind is that innovation does not come out of the blue. It does not happen without both policy, regulatory and market support, and with funding. And it doesn't happen at a moment's notice.
That's true of telehealth and telemedicine which is another advance we have seen on technology. So my most important message is to remind us all about the importance of innovation that is the cornerstone of access of technology for everyone, whether you are 22 or 90. Whether you are a man or a woman, what part of the world you are from.
We have to think of an ongoing support for innovation. David, should I continue? I see you are moving. Is that okay? I'm moving because my wife let the dog into the room and I'm worried he is going to try to jump on my lap.
Go ahead. I have left my yellow lab next to me who is behaving nicely. I would like to make a few other points, particularly since this is only the second year that older persons have been part of ITU in a more formal way, and as we all know, it's through the WSIS process, the World Summit on Information Society which, of course, is starting now as well. Number one, literally as we speak here, we are also launching the decade of healthy aging.
The WHO sister organisation to ITU obviously, and the UN itself. And literally one of the events that I missed this morning because I'm here with all of us is the first report on ageism out by the UN and the WHO which highlights the importance of the need for that accessibility for all of us, again, whether we are 82 or 22. Secondly, to remind everyone that when we think about this quote, unquote, aging topic, even though in the UN we refer to older persons, there are really two elements to it. One is, yes, older persons. We will have 2 billion of us on the planet over 60 in the next couple of decades, 2 billion.
So that's not like a small number, and it is a very large percentage, which comes to the second point. Namely that there are more old than young in OECD countries, and globally, which include all of the countries represented here, so the world, in the next decade or so there will be more old than young. So if we are thinking about fiscal sustainability for society, we have to think about the silver economy. And think about it in terms of technology and ICTs. Technology and innovation are central to both of these major points around economic and fiscal sustainability, and also around the enabling of access, and I guess a final point I would leave us all with is in general, whatever you thought about older people is wrong.
Older people come in many different forms and sizes. And if you think about certainly in many societies around the world, Japan is a good example, we now have an expectation of 100-year life. So if we think about this demographic as being from 60 to 100, that's 40 years, that's like putting everyone from 20 to 60 together. David, you and I might be a little different than, you know, a 90 year old who may not have had access to technology and innovation, but might very well do that. So we should think about the diversity of this demographic as well, and the need that is utterly required.
I'll invite everyone on this webinar, both panelists and participants to join us at WSIS. We have a hackathon, which is focused on this older persons track. We will have four platforms, one on dementia and Alzheimer's, which is one of the great needs of our time, almost perfectly correlated with aging, getting old. We will have one on transportation and mobility.
We will have one on FinTech, and we will have one on frailty. So please start hacking on all of those, sign up, get involved. For the first time ever, we will have a WSIS award on healthy aging innovation. Submit your technology, and I invite all of those here and then our panels will be the week of April 12th where, of course, we will be communicating with you. Technology, innovation, digital inclusion, utterly central to all of our lives whether we are 20, 60, 90 or older and as part of our participation in the economy, in society, how many of us have been to Zoom parties, weddings, unhappily, funerals, over the last year, and it just shows that this virtual world has very much extended, I think there is a new piece of data that just came out that roughly 60% of growth in online purchasing in OECD countries anyway have come from people 60 and older. We are streaming.
So thank you very much. We welcome this participation, and hope that we can engage with everyone through our Global Coalition on Aging, partnership with WSIS and ITU. Appreciate very much the opportunity.
Thank you so much, Michael. All of us old people need to start hacking more. Next, Monaco of Hear Colors.
What concrete actions to you think should be taken for the target group that you represent for the ICTs and the Internet? First of all, I would like to highlight something in particular with the target group I work with. When we hear 30's are the new 40's, we are making old every adults invisible. On one hand it's great because I just turned 37 with these new mathematics, but with the other hand, I still need glasses to read. I still have arthritis, and it's not going to get any better. The past year we have an accelerated pace to use technology for every aspect of our life, and what I felt is I spent most of my time trying to catch up with technology.
Instead of technology working for me. And don't take me wrong. I think ICTs are the best means to achieve and to empower us, especially when thinking about older adults including myself. Technology is the best equalizer for opportunities and technology needs to be inclusive so answer your question, David, about concrete actions to be taken to ensure access for older adults. I would say too, basic things.
On one hand well, three, we talk about Internet, that's for sure, but that's for everyone. If we do not have Internet, we cannot participate in the digital economy. But ICT accessibility and technology appropriation. With age, we know that we have an increase and changes in our limitations, we have reduction of visual and hearing capacity, we have reduction of motor capabilities. So we need to have accessible ICTs. For example, the online new subscription need to be able to increase the font size in order to be able to continue with my subscription.
My hearing aids will need to be compatible with my Smart TV if I want to continue to entertain myself. So ICT accessibility for every product and service in the market is a must, and we really need to tackle that. On the other hand, we need to promote the use of ICTs by older adults.
And to be successful in promoting the use of technology, we need to construct confidence. Technology must be perceived as useful and easy to use, and we all know that it's not always the case. Although society is becoming increasingly tech savvy, there is still a digital divide between older and younger adults and the division is really specific to new technology. ICTs are a catalyst for economic and social growth, and will bridge to the outside world and with living it this year, it's a bridge from the outside world which minimizes impacts of isolation. Nevertheless, it, essential to create according to older person's needs. We need to include in the process of developing products and services, older adults in order to achieve key inclusion in technology environment for healthy aging.
Investing in healthy aging using ICTs is a scalable means to provide services and products. Michael told about the importance of healthy aging, but the wellbeing of the aging population translates into better mental and physical health and directly impacts costs, public and for the families. Finally, I read in the ITU report on aging and Michael also talked about the silver economy, the value estimated of the silver economy is $17 trillion.
Not bad incentive to be accessible and inclusive. So all of the stores that today I am buying from online will want to keep me as a customer, and if they want me to keep them as a customer, we will really need to have accessible, usable, and inclusive technologies. Thank you very much, David. Thank you so much, Monica.
And the next person in this segment, Lissette González Romero will be talking about communications impact on indigenous communities in Mexico. And she will be interpreted by Anna Sepulveda who is one of the main organizers of this event. So welcome, Lissette, and tell us how ICTs can help the indigenous communities that you know so much about. Good day to everyone. I would like to start by asking the following. Have you ever wondered what type of technology or form of communication you want? Reply to this question, it means that we have to think about technologies.
Answering this question implies adopting a critical angle, reflecting on how technology works. It also means thinking about technology as the social good. It means rethinking how we relate to each other. And how we interact with it and how we actually use it. Rethinking technology in this way will make us able to make choices and take decisions how we want to use them and why and in what way, which also means owning it and adjusting them to their realities of our context and territories.
In general terms, it also will help us insure a better quality of life. I hereby propose pose the following actions: First of all, I would like to see more efforts to promote community projects. These kind of projects are based on a collective organisation. They also develop free technologies, which make the knowledge increase and get better at the time that we share it.
It also encourages schemes based on the concept of an open economy that also is sustainable and respects the environment and natural resources, and are very much related with the defense of the land and natural territories. Secondly I would like to address the issue of accessibility, improving accessibility. It's been talked a lot about increasing access by increasing connectivity and improving bandwidth, but we also need to do efforts on getting more up to date equipment and fit for purpose equipment, and also to adjust equipment to the needs of different sectors of the population. Obviously, we need to make these technologies more affordable. And we also need to encourage more training and capacity building, especially for the people who are originally from these communities and also indigenous peoples.
Those who do not know, cannot choose. Therefore, it is important that people also know so they can appropriate and own these technologies. Last but not least, it's also very important to enable a regulatory environment that is appropriate for these technologies. If we think about communications as a human rights, and in the spectrum as part of our natural territories, we are going to be technologies that are going to have a much more human focus. Thank you very much.
Thank you Lissette and thank I, Anna, for helping there. Before we move to the next segment, we are running considerably late, so please be conscious of the time. Now, I would like to bring Dunola to let us know what we are hearing from the youth community. Have you gotten questions from that group? Yes, thank you very much, everyone.
I'll highlight a few. She said we are live now, join the third session of the Road to Addis event Connect2Include, to ensure that no one is left out when we bridge the digital divide with the transformative powers of ICTs and then I could see familiar faces Tweeting as well from Africa, generation connect youth group. We have Noher saying about the speech by the President of Ethiopia saying a powerful speech. There are fans of the speech there. And she is saying about Joanne's (Garbled audio).
Do you think it will be achievable any time soon in Africa? So very interesting there. We have advocates who said COVID 19 digital inclusion affected certain demographics more, economically, educationally, socially as well as access to other opportunities, and also asked a very powerful question there, how could we have survived without connectivity during the pandemic? We are still in the pandemic? We are still trying. So we definitely need to think about that one. Finally I wanted to highlight a Tweet by Valerie that was quoting something that Claudia said access shouldn't be a privilege, it should be a basic human rights. Thank you so much.
We love the energy of that community. We will continue with additional panelists, Professor Anthony who is based in Oslo and Roland White who is head of global diversity at Microsoft. So let me start with you, what are some examples of good inclusion and what can we learn from that.
My example is based only my job title which is based on Universal Design, so Universal Design not surprisingly can what I would advocate for here. It's the one framework we have discovered that can make digital solutions available to everyone equally. It started back in the 90's, but it has spread all over the planet. The UN has mainstreamed Universal Design in all of their policies and programmes. And under human rights law, countries around the world have an obligation to put those into practice. So what is Universal Design, it all comes down to four key concepts.
Number one, equality. What we want is for everyone to have access. To this technology and new technology, but what we have are these huge digital divides that separate people into different groups and categories. Doreen mentioned people in rural environments, women and girls, but we, of course, also have to deal with the issue of disability, age, we have to deal with racial and ethnic minorities, all of whom experience disadvantages.
Universal Design is a framework for helping close the digital divides. The second key concept is diversity. We hear diversity a lot.
Everybody is talking about diversity, but diversity isn't just a checklist. It's not just an oh, we have this person on the team, we have this person on a team. We have to recognize that diversity is about a person's complete identity and that means we need to take an intersectional approach to understanding marginalization and disadvantage. What this comes down to is people with disabilities will experience barriers accessing and using technology because of her disability and her gender.
And her experience will be very different than a man with a disability or a woman with without a disability. Third key concept here is accessibility and usability. Now, you might be thinking those are two different things. No! They are interconnected.
It doesn't do anyone any good to have access to the Internet if they cannot use a computer. And having access to a computer isn't helpful if you can't use the Web. Number four, participation. Historically, technology was only usable for an elite group of technical experts. Now, we expect everyone to be able to use technology. And it used to be like that with technology development.
Technology developers used to be an elite group of people who had highly technical skills, but now anyone with a base level of digital skills can create technology on their own. So ensuring that we have a diverse group of people who are contributing to the ways that technologies are created is critical for Universal Design. Now, I live and work in Norway. Here Universal Design is part of our human rights. And on May 28th we are celebrating the first annual Universal Design day.
And you can find out more about this in our network of Universal Design professional as at our website, universal.design. Thank you, David. Thank you so much, Anthony.
I had a barking dog that I have had removed. Yea! Roland, tell us what you have learned as head of global diversity at Microsoft about digital inclusion. Thanks. I think this is a brilliant partnership here.
You call it Universal Design. We call it inclusive design. It's the same thing.
So when I joined Microsoft five years ago evolved how mission statement, and that's not just our customers, but the customers of our customers, but more importantly, those people with zero access to technology, and just like we have seen in the chat room, it's almost like a human rights. Electricity, food, water, broadband, all of these things are becoming essential for everybody and they are limited. (Garbled audio). We actually create additional ways for people to use technology and improve their lives. So we also don't believe that there should be levels of privilege in technology.
So one of the things, I know we have spoken about Teams today, but I wanted to talk about Office 365 and Skype. We have inclusive design in everything we build. We believe in blasting that criteria out the water.
But the challenge is people don't know about this stuff because they don't challenge themselves to use it. You know, you might have an iPhone, a phone you only stretch to where you want to explore, but you don't actually practice dictating your emails or actually having your emails dictated to you. You don't practice (Garbled audio). Within Office 365, all of our products are fully accessible, I don't like to use the word fully accessible, but highly accessible with many, many features and we do this as a standard and we encourage people to use it because as users of our products you are part of the design criteria. Within our inclusive design, we invite you to tell us what could be better. So, for example, many of the disabled communities, but within the African American, African American and Caribbean background were talking to us about some of the facial recognition challenges within using cameras, and some of the difficulties they were having using some of the eye gaze technology.
This is where input from you is critical for inclusive design. The last part of this is about giving back to society and changing society. You were talking about the older generation.
I still couldn't myself as a young man, but unless all of us get on this community, actually start going into schools, and colleges and with parents and teaching with this from day one, we will continue to have the same issues. So Microsoft gives loads of free training around coding for girls that code, minorities that code, getting back to work around Cloud and AI, but just break the stigma of these things, show what's possible using technology instead of how it's restricted and then we will get to the value of we believe in Microsoft that actually a disability is caused when there is a mismatch between human requirements and technology. And all of us have that ability to actually create everything to an ability and make the world better for everybody.
So thank you for asking. Thank you so much, and Microsoft is doing so many impressive things these days. Thank you for being here. I would like to bring back on screen our good friend Sango.
So Sango, what have you got for us this time? We are going to watch a video on how the pandemic is pushing more and more children to learn from home and how important that online protection is. Let's roll the video. At the peak of the pandemic, more than 190 countries closed the doors of their schools to 94% of learners worldwide, creating the largest mass disruption of education in history. Many governments reacted with an overnight shift to online learning... but the reality
is that globally, 2 in 3 children and young people do not have access to the Internet at home. Those children were disproportionately impacted by the global shutdowns as they were unable to continue their education and those lucky enough to have connectivity at home, had to adjust to new ways of learning, socializing and in many cases to an increased exposure to online risks and potential harms. Safe digital access of ALL children to the online environment must be a top national priority. All children should be able to safely and responsibly use the Internet to learn, explore and access knowledge and opportunities. For many years Child Online Protection has been at the top of ITU’s Agenda.
The ITU’s Child Online Protection Guidelines provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for all relevant stakeholders on how to contribute to the development of a safe and empowering online environment for children and young people. To protect children online we need data, new technologies, harmonized frameworks, international cooperation and increased investment. We also need global awareness, endorsement, and commitment …and more importantly, we need to listen to children and young people! They must be part of the solution! What is your country doing to protect children and young people online at school and at home? What is your sector doing for a safer and child-friendlier Internet? What is the global community doing to endorse and implement the COP guidelines? What can you do to ensure safe learning never stops? Thank you, Sango for that powerful video.
I'm happy to welcome those working so hard on the issues we have talked about today. You are leading an unprecedented effort to achieve digital inclusion for all which began in January at the world economics Forums dialogue so tell us about the Edison alliance and what you are working on. Thank you, David, and thank you all for a great contribution during this discussion. We all know and we have heard from all of the speakers that the pandemic has such a tremendous impact on society. I would like to focus on two issues that we have been set back when it comes to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, we have been set back economically during the pandemic and all of that which is extremely tough.
The second one I want to focus we have leapfrogged probably five to seven years into digitalization. Things that we have been talking of, they happened immediately when this pandemic came out. So there has never been more important to be connected and all speakers have been talking about.
But still we have 3.6 billion people that are not connected in the world. So it's a big challenge to get that access to what I call the 21st century infrastructure, mobility, broadband and Cloud. And we are actually running the risk to actually increasing and that's what we heard from previous speakers in the future and now if you are not connected, you are not part of our society. You cannot get access to education, to working from home, to healthcare, and just being connected to your friends. So I think this is the moment where we need to understand the challenge, and I heard it from several of you, it's a three fold challenge.
It's the accessibility to the technology, it's the affordability, and also the usability, devices and applications that are really supporting it. And that's why we decided to work with the World Economic Forum and make a platform of a multistakeholder, multi sector private public initiative because it's not only one organisation that can solve this. It has to be several different using it in order to scale the digitalization across the globe. And a single mission for the Edison Alliance is actually to increase the digital inclusion in our society worldwide. And we will focus initially on health, education, and financial inclusion.
And we have experts in all of these areas represented both in public and private sector in order to scale and advocate and find the best solutions, not maybe invent things but scale them across borders and we have heard good examples here that could be scalable, and the problem we have today is we don't know how much good solutions are out there and how we can do it. So that's what we are doing. We have a multiyear program that's going to go several years where we put up tough targets for ourselves to achieve and improve, and, of course, we work with all important organisations like ITU, the Broadband Commission, GSMA from a technology point of view that can already have done quite a lot.
So we are encouraged, we have people from all of these sectors coming in public and private to help doing this. So I'm encouraged and I always talked about we needed the 18 goal of the Sustainable Development Goals and that's actually connectivity. We don't have an 18th goal, but we have enormous platform and understanding how important the disability inclusion is in our society to be part of it, and it shouldn't matter where you are born, where you live and where you come from. You should have the same opportunities. We have a chance in a lifetime because everybody understands the importance of this infrastructure right now, and to doing what we need to do.
I can only echo what Doreen said, connectivity is a basic human rights. And it's more important now than ever. So that's what we are focused on at Edison Alliance.
We kicked it off at the beginning of the year, and as I said, it's a multiyear work that we will do together with the World Economic Forum. Thank you so much. I think in the six years since the goals were adopted the consciousness of the importance of connotative has changed.
I'm sure if they were being adopted now there would be an 18th goal on connectivity, no question, not 9B or whatever the heck it is, but we understand now, and your leadership has been valuable. I'm sure many people here will be getting behind the Edison Alliance's work so thank you for joining us. Great to see you.
Thank you, David. Now, I would like to invite Doreen Bogdan Martin and talk about the key element for what we talked about today, and that is partnerships. Doreen, what are some examples of partnerships for digital inclusion and after Doreen speaks we will hear from Othman Almoamar on the same topic so Doreen.
Thank you, David, it's a great moment to jump in because Hans has sort of set this up for me by citing really good examples that are out there from the Broadband Commission to the Edison Alliance. I would say that there is growing recognition that partnership needs to be right at the centre as Hans was saying of every digital development strategy. I think that's what the UNSG was advancing with the launch of the digital cooperation roadmap. Of course, for the ITU partnership I think is at the heart of our work.
It's in our DNA. We are the only UN agency that actually has private sector membership, and I think it's critical to the effectiveness of our work here at the ITU bringing Governments, private sector, academia and civil society together. So whether it's our smart village 2.0 initiative I want to mention with the Government of Niger, a range of partners from the UN. private sector and civil society, which is bringing innovative, meaningful and accessible digital solutions to villages In Niger, by taking a holistic approach which makes digital platforms the foundation of health services, education, agricultural management practices, and more.
Another great example are equals, global partnership, and many of you are part of it, co founded by the ITU, UN Women, ITC, GSMA and UNU are now counting over 100 partners and we work together to help women get access to ICTs, be better equipped with digital skills to benefit from greater leadership opportunities in the digital sector and lastly I want to mention our Giga initiative with UNICEF and others to connect every school on the planet to the Internet and every young person to information opportunity, and choice, and this effort is critically important now as we have heard about the challenges that learners are facing because of the lack of connectivity. So these are just some examples, David. They are bearing fruit and I would like to invite you to join us so that together we can make university digital inclusion a reality. Thank you.
Back to you. Thanks Doreen. It is inspiring the number of partnerships emerging and we heard about a major one from Hans as you said and there are so many others, the GIGA initiative is great too. Othman Almoamar, tell us from your perspective what is the importance of partnerships for us to achieve some of the great things we are talking about in this program today, and welcome. Hi, David, hello everyone on the call.
Wherever you are in the world. I know that I will talk about something Doreen mentioned earlier which is the emphasis to engage and partner with people, and more specifically it has been my experience that people are digital natives but don't have, 50% of the world population, and 90% of young people live in Developing Countries. And what it means to be connected (garbled audio). Employment, and many other factors. And yet one way where people could be is through digital inclusion.
I had the role of bringing in 77 different Delegations from 23 different countries and international organisations, and submitting together our policy that would (Garbled audio). Now, there are, for example, within G20 infrastructure, the rural economy task force. They focus a lot on ITU's message. We thank the ITU for partnering with younger generation.
Thank you, Othman Almoamar, it really is fantastic the number of people we have here today on this conversation about such a critical set of issues and I do think the human element has been coming out so thank you to Doreen and everyone for organising it. We are close to finishing here, but as we have done in the past, we are going to ask each panelist to tell us in just one word what they would like to see coming out of the WTDC Conference. So I'm going to go through and ask each of them just to quickly give us their word, so, Doreen, let's start with you. I'm going to say leadership, leadership, leadership.
Okay. Emilce Portillo? Transformation. Thank you.
Emma. Action. Joanne? Access is my word. Judith. Impact. Michael.
Innovation. Monica? Awareness. Lissette? Zoom often can be frustrating.
Could we have one word that you would like to see as an outcome of the WTDC in Ethiopia. Thank you. Roland? Curiosity. We got a great variety of words.
Othman Almoamar? Representation. Thank you. Hans? Is Hans still with us? Maybe not.
He was here until just a second ago. Oh, well, he is a big CEO so that's understandable. Anthony? Universaldesign, all one word. That's cheating but we will allow it.
Lissette, have you gotten your mic on yet? Lissette has written in the chat that the computer is frozen, but she has given me the word. The word is accessibilit