President Werner Hoyer represented the EIB, the leading international financial institution in terms of ICT financing, at a high-level event organised by the US State Department in the margins of the IMF/World Bank Spring meetings to discuss how to bridge the digital gap in the developing world.
Opening speeches were given by US Secretary of State, John F. Kerry, and World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim. The event was livestreamed and you can read President Hoyer’s full speech here.
Background on the Global Connect Initiative
Of the 7 billion people living on our planet, 4 billion own mobile phones. Only 3.5 billion own toothbrushes. In many developing countries, mobile phone owners outnumber people with access to clean water or electricity. Internet connectivity is fundamental to economic development and prosperity, yet the UN estimates that in the world’s poorest nations 90% of the population remains excluded from the digital revolution.
In late 2015 the US State Department launched the Global Connect Initiative. The guiding principle is simple yet ambitious: a 50% increase in internet users by 2020. That translates as an extra 1.5 million people online within the next 5 years.
Read more about the Global Connect Guiding Principles here.
Role of the EIB
The EIB is the leading international financial institution in terms of ICT financing. Equipped with over 20 years of experience in the sector, the EU bank currently manages a global ICT investment portfolio of EUR 15 billion. New commitment to ICT projects in 2015 reached 1.6 billion euros, which were part of EIB’s 18.7 billion euros financing envelope for innovation and knowledge economy investments in that year. These digital projects signed in 2015 by the EIB are expected to connect:
- 15.3 million people in the EU
- And a further 120 000 households outside the EU
The EIB is proud to support the aims of the Global Connect Initiative.