Friday, 12 June 2015 15:08

Innovation needed to accelerate digital inclusion Featured

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Innovation needed to accelerate digital inclusion Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

New approaches to regulation and infrastructure funding are required to promote digital inclusion and to close the ‘digital gap’ between industrialised economies and developing economies in emerging markets.

That’s one of the key messages coming out of the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators forum held this week in Africa in the Gabonese capital Libreville.

The ICT regulatory meeting highlighted the key role of innovation in driving ICT development, with delegates stressing the need for more innovative approaches to funding challenges, ICT taxation, network sharing and licensing of new services.

Around 400 senior international policy makers from over 60 countries, representing the world’s information and communication technology (ICT) regulatory authorities and leading tech companies, attended the meeting and focused on strategies to accelerate digital inclusion to leverage the growth potential of emerging economies and developing markets.

A wide range of pressing regulatory issues, including mobile payments; network sharing models; taxation and the digital economy; the ‘Internet of Everything’; regulation and broadband uptake; and ways that regulatory frameworks can help promote accessibility for all, were on the agenda.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao emphasised the importance of fostering the growth of technology-based small and medium enterprises in growing each country’s national digital economy, urging countries to invest in youth through education and ICT training.

“Young people are natural innovators, and today’s youth are also ‘digital natives’ – using ICTs to solve problems and create useful new services comes naturally to them, so they can become major drivers of socio-economic change.

“Far-sighted governments should look to ways of harnessing this energy and creativity to transform their economies through ICTs and help bridge the digital gap,” Zhao said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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