The annual ICT4D Conferences have proven to be an invaluable opportunity for NGOs, private sector organizations, universities, governmental agencies and foundations to share their experience in using ICT to increase the impact of development programs and to learn from each other. In 2016, 750 individuals from 76 countries and 320 private sector and public sector and civil society explored the ways to harness the full power of digital solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our thanks to Accenture, Catholic Relief Services, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Inmarsat, IS Solutions, Making All Voices Count, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio, Qualcom Wireless Reach, RTI International, SimbaNet and World Vision for making that possible.
This Discussion Group session on Connectivity will provide an open forum for participant discussion as a continuation of Darrell Owen’s morning Plenary presentation on Connectivity. The session will focus specifically on the Least Developed and Least Connected Countries (LDCs and LCCs) that continue to fall behind in the area of having access to affordable Internet—an essential core component for levering ICT4D. The orientation is to explore the need for innovative disruptions across the connectivity ecosystem that hold promise for addressing this critical challenge. SDG Target 9c—“Significantly increase access to information and communication technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020,” is the context, with on universal and affordable Internet access in LDCs and LCCs be the specific focus.