Despite the pandemic forcing a rapid digitalization of the economy, 3.7 billion people in the world still do not have internet access.

This panel of world leaders met online on 7 October 2021 at 17:00 CEST to mobilize and scale-up technologies and infrastructure to enable digital inclusion.


Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information and communications technology and Innovation of Rwanda

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Application of the United Arab Emirates

Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

Tan Hooi Ling, Co-Founder, Grab

Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vista Equity Partners

Adrian Lovett, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Web Foundation

Chaired by:

Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum

Moderated by:

Adrian Monck, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

digital, COVID-19, EDISON Alliance

EDISON Alliance: What is the Forum doing to close the digital gap?

COVID-19 has exposed digital inequities globally and exacerbated the digital divide. Most of the world lives in areas covered by a mobile broadband network, yet more than one-third (2.9 billion people) are still offline. Cost, not coverage, is the barrier to connectivity.

At The Davos Agenda 2021, the World Economic Forum launched the EDISON Alliance, the first cross-sector alliance to accelerate digital inclusion and connect critical sectors of the economy.

Through the 1 Billion Lives Challenge, the EDISON Alliance aims to improve 1 billion lives globally through affordable and accessible digital solutions across healthcare, financial services and education by 2025.

Read more about the EDISON Alliance’s work in our Impact Story.

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