Internet For All: A Key Initiative for Africa’s Digital Transformation

Published
10 May 2016
2016
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Oliver Cann, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 (0)79 799 3405; Email: oliver.cann@weforum.org

· Internet For All is a global initiative led by the World Economic Forum to develop models for large-scale public private collaboration that accelerate internet access and adoption

· First partnership programme will target 75 million Africans in the Northern Corridor countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda

· Key learning from the first phase of Internet For All and best practices for internet access and adoption from around the world can be found here

· For more information, please visit wef.ch/af16

Kigali, Rwanda, 10 May 2016 – Efforts to extend the reach of the internet to the 4 billion people worldwide that are not yet connected will only succeed if a digital ecosystem approach is adopted where access, affordability, skills and content are given equal attention, according to a new World Economic Forum-led initiative, Internet For All, whose key learning and best practices are published today.

The learning is published as a collection of best practices from around the world on how public-private collaboration has enabled internet access and adoption. Entitled Internet for All: A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption, the report forms the basis of the Internet For All initiative’s first phase and concludes with a framework for governments and businesses to accelerate large-scale internet adoption.

The framework will be implemented in an initial project with the full endorsement of the governments of the Northern Corridor countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda. In these countries, 75 million people representing 67% of the total population have no access to the internet.

“The internet has become a pervasive, fundamental part of daily life, but low internet penetration significantly impacts a country’s ability to participate in the digital economy, which is becoming an increasingly important priority for development as Africa, like the rest of the world, enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We know it is possible to break down the digital divide for the 55% of the world’s population that is still not connected: now it’s time for governments, businesses and civil society to make it happen,” said Alex Wong, Head, Global Challenge Partnerships and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

"Achieving Internet for All is a critical priority for Africa to take full advantage of enormous current and future digital opportunities. This report provides a clear framework on which our Internet for All development strategy is based. In the Northern Corridor of East Africa, our aim is to help bring 25 million more citizen online by 2019," said Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Minister for Youth and Information Communication Technology, Rwanda.

“There is no greater challenge to development than the digital divide, and the role of information and communications technology cannot be underestimated in helping to enable every one of the Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved for every person in the world,” said Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson

More than 1,200 participants from over 70 countries are taking part in the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 to 13 May 2016. The theme of the meeting is “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”.

The Co-Chairs of the 26th World Economic on Africa are: Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Abidjan; Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company; Tony O. Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Nigeria; Graça Machel, Founder, Graça Machel Trust (GMT), South Africa; and Tarek Sultan Al Essa, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Board, Agility, Kuwait

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