Four billion people remain offline, excluded from the digital economy. Rates of internet access growth are stagnating. Short of realising its potential to empower and enable, the internet may be exacerbating existing inequalities. G20 states have committed themselves to bridging the digital divide (the Antalya Communique). It will not be sufficient simply to provide people with access. Consistent with the Hangzhou Communique, a wider focus from all stakeholders is necessary, including infrastructure capacity, affordable internet access and devices, human capacity and essential skills, and digital inclusion for society’s most vulnerable. Measuring access is essential.

iventure Technology

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Internet access is powerful tool to leverage for the delivery of essential services such as education and healthcare, internet access further provides increased opportunities for equal opportunities for marginalized groups such as women, youth and the disables while contributes to enhanced government transparency and accountability.

Raising Internet penetration to 75 percent of the population in all developing countries (from the current level of approximately 35 percent) would add as much as US$2 trillion to their collective gross domestic product (GDP) and create more than 140 million jobs around the world according to a world bank brief dubbed connecting for inclusion.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have stressed the importance of the mobile internet now more than ever to support access to education, work, healthcare, social networks, goods and services, but has also shown that digital divides could exacerbate existing inequalities across countries and along demographic and socioeconomic groups.

In PwC’s 2018 CEO Survey, 75% of financial-services leaders polled were concerned about shortages of digital skills within the industry. The pace of change in today’s business environment is unparalleled—and with this change comes the inherent need to field talent that’s ready for the future of work. Talent that has the right digital/tech skills to drive innovation.

Leaders need to consider the right balance of hiring and upskilling their existing workforce to have access to these skills. By coupling upskilling with the right mix of hiring, your organization can future-proof today in order to be ready for the business landscape of tomorrow. That is a landscape that will require most employees to be well-versed in technology-based skills such as design thinking, artificial intelligence, data aggregation and visualization, and process automation.

 Since women represent a significant majority of those who do not have access, there is a clear gender dimension to the technological  divide. Therefore the technology divide is multifold. It refers to a gap between countries that have or do not have easy access to technological advances. Within countries, the divide is between the socio-economic strata of societies that have access
to technology and those that do not (particularly in rural areas). In addition, there is a gender gap across and within most countries: almost everywhere women lag behind men either in access to training or in the application of technology.

It is against this back ground that iventures programs focus on technology skilling and equipping programs to bridge the digital divide.