Geneva, 07 September 2020
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (CIR) launch a cooperation project to improve the digital ecosystem and strengthen the digital skills of women in the countries least developed (LDCs). This project will help reduce the persistent digital divide between men and women – a gap which, since 2013, has been closing in developed regions and widening in developing countries and LDCs. In Africa, the proportion of women using the Internet is 12% lower than that of men using this tool; and in the African LDCs, this disparity reaches 31%. By pooling their resources, ITU and EIF will step up activities for women in Burundi, Ethiopia and Haiti. Policy capacities will be strengthened, so that public authorities are better able to systematically take into account a gender perspective in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT), and new horizons will open up for thousands of women entrepreneurs working in sectors such as textiles and clothing and in the coffee and cocoa value chains. “More than ever, digital technologies are a key driver of economic opportunities for women,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “This partnership between ITU and EIF will provide vital policy support to ensure that the ICT sector develops sustainably where it is needed most, and will benefit women. , who will have the opportunity to access and use ICT to fully contribute to the economy ”. The project will focus on field activities at the national level and will consist in particular of:
- working with public authorities and various decision-makers to ensure that policies relating to the digital economy take into account the gender perspective -women;
- work with institutional partners and various members of the local ecosystem to prepare women of working age to evolve in the digital world; and
- working with the private sector to create economic opportunities in the digital world for women of working age.
This project will, for example, provide an opportunity to define the content of national training of trainers programs, set up a distributed learning system that goes through the most basic use of large information / knowledge platforms and includes digital solutions regarding garment design, intelligent methods of custom manufacturing, line production, e-commerce solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, mobile banking services, design thinking and technical innovation as well as the use of the Internet of Things for entrepreneurship purposes . “Strengthening the digital skills of women in least developed countries can help women take advantage of growing opportunities, whether it is to expand their economic activity, strengthen the interdependence of markets or increase their chances of finding a job. This is why I am delighted that the CIR is working alongside the ITU and the governments of Burundi, Ethiopia and Haiti as part of its initiative “Make women more empowered, boost exchanges”. , which supports innovative activities involving women in LDCs ”, noted EIF Executive Director Ratnakar Adhikari. “Finding innovative ways to bridge the digital divide between men and women is fundamental. We must empower women in local communities to properly use ICTs and get the most out of them economically and socially. In this regard, this project targets the right sectors, the right communities and the right entrepreneurs, ”said Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. And to add: “By partnering with the CIR to ensure that women have more access to and use of ICTs and know better how to use them, we intend to help many women of working age to make a difference in their lives. community”. Improving the political and regulatory environment that conditions the digital society of the selected countries will be an essential condition for the success of the project. To initiate a dialogue on the type of measures that need to be taken to achieve this progress, it is planned to organize an open discussion with key stakeholders, including women entrepreneurs and women working in relevant sectors, government officials ICT, representatives of the commercial sector, textile and clothing sector corporations, agricultural cooperatives and private sector entities. This joint project, which intends to make a contribution to the EQUALS Global Partnership and is part of the CIR initiative “ Making women more autonomous, boosting exchanges “, will help match supply and demand in the labor market and facilitate women's entrepreneurial activities through ICT. It will be carried out in close collaboration with local partners such as cooperatives and corporations, so that the support given to women does not cease, or even be reinforced, once the project is completed. EQUALS partners will be involved in nation-wide work and bring other specialist skills to the planning and execution of the project.