There are multiple, multi-dimensional factors contributing to digital divides, chief among them gender, access to education and skills, lack of locally relevant content, lack of human capacity, and weak local supply chains.
All these issues need to be addressed if the vision of the ‘Internet for everyone’ is to be achieved.
Access to the Internet is essential for empowerment of certain groups, especially women, connecting them with global markets and communities.
Yet, women in Africa are 50 per cent less likely to be online than men; and there are digital divides also affecting people with disabilities, and people lacking digital skills.
There is a risk that greater digital inequality will spread within countries – between those who are connected and those who are not.
This inequality will affect jobs and the economic performance of countries and communities.
Members of the technical community may view confidentiality as secrecy, but on difficult issues people of good faith need some room to talk and interact freely.
The confidentiality offered by the Chatham House Rule encourages people to speak freely, but its efficacy depends on physical meetings in the real world, at which the presence of a silent majority plays an important role in curbing extreme behaviour.
In just three years, however, the advent of 4G has increased the number of mobile broadband connections to 43 million.
For regulators in developing countries, the first step is to bring people online, and after that to focus on new services.