The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on Broadband for the Most Vulnerable Countries, has again identified some lingering challenges, which are considered as setbacks to broadband access, especially in Africa.

The Working Group, in a report Broadband for national development in four LDCs: Cambodia, Rwanda, Senegal and Vanuatu, argued that lack of relevant local content and applications, low digital literacy and unaffordability are the drawbacks why the use of broadband has not fully matched its increasing supply.

This, according to the report is worrisome as high-speed Internet improves economies and livelihoods in least developed countries.

To tackle these and other challenges, the report recommends: expanding digital literacy and awareness, a strategic commitment to broadband as a cross-cutting general purpose technology, identifying complementary technologies to bridge the digital divide, straightforward solutions, acknowledging the urgent need to serve rural populations, developing enabling policy environments that also supports sustainability, increasing government and private sector coordination, supporting local e-business to make productive use of broadband, improving monitoring and evaluation of broadband initiatives, and striking a balance between coverage, affordability and digital literacy.

The report is a collaborative effort of several UN Broadband Commission Commissioners and Working Group Members. It was launched at a special session during the meeting of the national Focal Points of the Least Developed Countries, coinciding with the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2018 in New York.

The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development was established in 2010 and comprises more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors who are committed to actively advocate and supporting countries, UN experts and NGO teams to fully leverage power of broadband-based technologies for sustainable development in key areas such as education, healthcare and environmental management.


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