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UN hails $4.8 bn in new pledges to boost global connectivity

The United Nations said Monday that it had raked in $4.8 billion in new pledges towards closing the global digital divide, bringing total pledges to over $50 billion.

Around 2.6 billion people, or one-third of the global population, remained offline in 2023, according to data from the International Telecommunications Union, the UN’s telecoms agency.

“Closing the digital divide requires a team effort, and today we scored a huge win for global connectivity,” ITU chief Doreen Bogdan-Martin said in a statement. The ITU has been leading efforts to rectify a situation where a third of the world’s population has never connected to the internet, and is being left out of the advantages that digitalisation can provides.

In 2021, the Geneva-based UN agency launched the Partner2 Connect Digital Coalition, with the aim of using public-private partnerships to help increase digitalisation in the world’s hardest-to-connect communities. It has set a target of raising $100 billion by 2026, and ITU hailed Monday that it was now more than halfway to that goal, with a total of $50.96 billion in pledges so far. AFP

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