Digital Infrastructure Investment Initiative: Bridging the Finance Gap for Universal Meaningful Connectivity

Digital technology is a key driver of economic and societal transformation. Increases in connectivity penetration are associated with GDP growth (1) and 70% of the SDG indicators have a digital component, underscoring the integral role of digitalization in fostering prosperity and sustainable development.

Yet, the persistent digital divide leaves an estimated 2.6 billion individuals unconnected, representing a significant barrier to global progress and equitable participation in the digital economy. With the lack of physical infrastructure being one of the main reasons for this connectivity gap, urgent action is needed to optimize investments in digital infrastructure.

As a knowledge partner to the G20 Brazil Presidency of the Digital Economy Working Group (G20 DEWG), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has joined forces with multilateral financial institutions (2) to launch the Digital Infrastructure Investment Initiative (DIII). This initiative unites a coalition of stakeholders—including governments, the private sector, and plurilateral/multilateral financial institutions—with the goal of identifying innovative financing mechanisms and instruments that can support the achievement of universal, meaningful connectivity by 2030.

This event will provide a unique opportunity to update participants on the current situation and the challenges associated with the digital infrastructure investment gap. Participants will gain insights into the implications of the digital divide and will have the opportunity to learn about specific frameworks and approaches to developing innovative financial mechanisms and instruments to help chart a path towards universal meaningful connectivity, social progress, and economic growth.

(1) A 1% increase in mobile broadband penetration yields a 0.15% increase in GDP, while a 1% increase in fixed broadband penetration results in a 0.08% rise in GDP (ITU, 2018)

(2) The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the World Bank Group.

Location: Blue Tree Hotel, São Luís – Brasil

Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2024