Blog: 2030 ICT Alliance of the Americas

© EVP Rachel Samrén, speaking at the OAS 46th Assembly

Latest figures on digital literacy and the adoption of The Digital Lifestyle™ within our Latin American markets underline the need for a clearly defined long-term commitment to digital inclusion, to help reduce poverty and inequality, improve education and create more opportunities for formal employment. EVP External Affairs Rachel Samrén reports on Millicom’s decision to sign up to the 2030 ICT Alliance of the Americas.

Read: OAS Press Release 

July 2016: Delivering on Millicom’s mission to lead the adoption of The Digital Lifestyle™ in our markets has made us acutely aware of the many benefits that digital technology brings to society. It has also shown us the many challenges we still face.

Emerging trends and new data surfacing in our markets on a daily basis clearly tell us that governments, mobile network operators and their partners must do more than just connect people.

More than half (57 per cent) of all those in Latin America who live in areas covered by mobile networks do not subscribe to a connection. A gender gap exists in digital technology according to the GSMA, in which 200 million fewer women than men own a mobile phone in low and middle income countries.

Additionally, the need to build awareness of children’s rights to privacy and personal safety is acute as undesirable behavior such as bullying is often amplified online.

When we signed up to the 2030 ICT Alliance of the Americas in Santo Domingo last month, we were reaffirming our commitment to face these challenges head on.

We will continue to actively engage with governments and regulators as well as local communities and social groups, with teachers, parents and children, in order to educate and empower people with the digital literacy skills they need.

The Alliance itself aims to connect a further 1.5 billion people by the year 2020; ensure every public school in the region is connected online before 2030, with access to relevant local content; promote digital training and improvement in the quality of education, to develop talent for the new digital economy; and strengthen democratic participation.

As signatories, we have our own specific targets to achieve over the next few years, mainly in the field of education and child online protection.

At the same time, there is more we can do. We will stay focused also other areas of the business that we believe can promote new opportunities for digital as well as financial inclusion, such as mobile financial services. While our Tigo Money brand now accounts for 45 per cent of all mobile money customers in Latin America the economies where we operate remain predominantly cash driven.

Our partnerships with governments and non-government organizations to disburse monetary aid through our mobile network and Tigo Money platforms are giving beneficiaries their first experience of the positive difference that digital technology can make to their lives.

The 2030 ICT Alliance of the Americas creates another important framework for the region through which ICT in general and Millicom and Tigo in particular can work more effectively and responsibly to ensure the least privileged in society become digitally included.