Connecting All People Everywhere
The 17th Internet Governance Forum convenes in Addis Ababa 

The annual Internet Governance Forum, convened by the UN Secretary-General, kicked off today, 28 November, with thousands gathering in Addis Ababa to deliver bold solutions for an open, free, inclusive and secure digital future for all, an enabler of sustainable development.

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The need for connectivity that is safe, affordable, open and secure for all was a pervasive message throughout the day. There is a stark digital divide with billions still without internet access, 96 per cent of whom live in developing countries. Furthermore, only 21% of people in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) enjoy access to the Internet, compared to 87% in developed countries. The Sustainable Development Goal target 9.C to achieve universal access in LDCs by 2020 has been missed.

Delegates highlighted the importance of digital literacy and internet access for women and girls to close the digital divide. They also stressed the need for more action by governments, institutions and technical companies.

High-Level Session – Universal, affordable and meaningful connectivity

With 2.7 billion people still without Internet access, the first High-level session at IGF2022 focused on universal, affordable and meaningful connectivity. The panel discussion centred on the importance of multistakeholder partnerships in delivering connectivity, specifically the role of governments and the private sector. Common challenges to universal and meaningful connectivity that were brought to the fore include access to and affordability of broadband and devices, digital literacy and value-creation.

As digital inequalities are found to affect vulnerable populations including women, children, migrants, refugees, people with disabilities and indigenous people, panelists stressed the role of education and sustainable infrastructure in advancing digital inclusion.

Photo: Daniel Getachew/UN ECA