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Bridging the Digital Divide

The organization and hosting of the fourth Web4Dev conference was delegated to UN-HABITAT (Nairobi, 2007) and focused on how United Nations agencies can work together, delivering as one, to maximize the impact of the Internet in accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It presented an excellent opportunity for UN agencies and stakeholders to take stock of past and on-going Internet-enabled development programmes with a view to producing an enhanced framework for coordinating future action.

The meeting was convened to examine the theme, Driving Economic and Social Development with the Internet. Access to the web is limited. Some 450 million people worldwide are connected to computers. By contrast, only 14 percent of the global telephone users have Internet access. This is due to poor computer skills, illiteracy, and disabilities in a world where access is mainly visual and costly. Topics explored in the session included: web solutions for youth, and best practices from developing countries such as the Digital Villages (and initiative to take ICT to rural areas and provide a suite of services like e-learning, e-banking and e-health, among others).