I am pleased to join you because it is so important, especially right now, to generate new ideas for investing in our young people.

That is the mission of Generation Unlimited. Today’s young generation is the largest in history. We need them to be ready to learn, to work, and to prosper.

The Giga initiative, which was launched last year, has two key objectives. First, to map demand for internet connectivity in schools around the globe. Second, to serve as a platform to make the infrastructure investments needed for universal school connectivity.

Giga is a joint endeavour of UNICEF and ITU, in cooperation with the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, which was established by UNESCO and ITU.

In Africa, this effort builds on the existing priorities of the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy and the work of the Smart Africa Secretariat.

There is also strong support from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other multilateral agencies, as well as private sector partners. Ericsson, to name just one, has just announced a major commitment to the Giga mapping effort, and this is greatly appreciated.

I want to thank the Secretary-General, in his recent report on the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation for highlighting the renewed urgency of closing the digital divide in the context of the Covid pandemic by investing in new technologies.

The need to act quickly to connect every student in the world to the internet will not diminish, even when the pandemic is overcome.

I therefore wish to commend the Secretary-General for elevating the digital agenda and charting a clear path forward. Smart Africa and the Broadband Commission stand ready to play a part in making this new framework effective.

Now is the time for all stakeholders, working together, to seize this moment to lay the foundation for the next generation’s digital future. I thank you all.