Bridging the digital divide starts with broadband around the world

John Frank, Vice President of UN Affairs at Microsoft, discusses how to include people around the world in the digital economy,on UNGA In 60 Seconds.

Satya Nadella famously said, "We saw two years of digital transformation in two months" due to the pandemic and the need it created for virtual communication, work, and learning, but still nearly half the world's population lacks connectivity.

First, how can we begin to bridge the digital divide? Then, how can digital skilling lead us into a better global economy?


We need to redouble our efforts to bring broadband around the world. Less developed countries desperately need new technologies that bring broadband connectivity at lower costs, but we also need to focus on underserved populations in our urban centers and rural America. We need to create new mechanisms and new technologies that are going to bring people in, but being connected, it's not enough. We need to have people be able to participate in the new digital economy, and that requires digital skills. And what better way to get them than online. We can find new ways to train people, but there needs to be a commitment to lifelong learning. And of course, there's digital natives, but the whole population can benefit from developing digital skills, and we believe that many people can greatly improve their economic future and economic security through robust training on digital skills.

More from Global Stage

Live from Davos: Crisis in a digital world | Monday, May 23 | 11 am ET / 5 pm CEST | Global Stage

GZERO streams live from Davos on Monday, May 23

As industry and government leaders gather in person for the 2022 World Economic Forum, GZERO Media is hosting a special livestream to discuss “Crisis in a digital world” on Monday, May 23, at 5 pm CEST/11 am EDT.

Live from Davos: Crisis in a digital world

Live from Davos: Crisis in a digital world

As industry and government leaders gather in person for the 2022 World Economic Forum, GZERO Media is hosting a special livestream to discuss “Crisis in a digital world” on Monday, May 23, at 5pm CEST/11am EDT.

Global Stage Podcast | Patching the System | Fighting Cybercrime

Podcast: A cybercrime treaty proposed by…Russia?

Listen: Cybercrime is a rapidly growing threat, and one that will require a global effort to combat. But could some of the same measures taken to fight criminals online lead to human rights abuses and a curtailing of freedom? As the United Nations debates a new and expansive cybercrime treaty first proposed by Russia, we’re examining the details of the plan, how feasible it would be to find consensus, and what potential dangers await if the treaty is misused by authoritarian governments.

Haiti stuck in a "vicious circle," says IMF economist

Amid the current global turmoil, one country that's definitely no stranger to crises is Haiti. Haitians will surely feel the pinch of rising prices of things like food and fuel, International Monetary Fund economist Nicole Laframboise says during a Global Stage conversation with GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft.

Podcast: Cyber Mercenaries and the digital “wild west"

Podcast: Cyber Mercenaries and the digital “wild west"

Listen: The concept of mercenaries, hired soldiers and specialists working privately to fight a nation’s battles, is nearly as old as war itself.In our fourth episode of “Patching the System,” we’re discussing the threat cyber mercenaries pose to individuals, governments, and the private sector. We’ll examine how spyware used to track criminal and terrorist activity around the world has been abused by bad actors in cyber space who are hacking and spying activists, journalists, and even government officials. And we’ll talk about what’s being done to stop it.

Egypt wants COP27 to be all about implementation

Later this year, Egypt will be hosting the COP27 Climate Summit. What does the gathering hope to accomplish at such an uncertain time for climate action? It's time to go from pledges and commitments to implementation, Egyptian Minister for International Cooperation Rania al-Mashat says during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft.

Digital Equity