Could the Internet eradicate poverty?

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook boss plans to bring internet to refugee camps.

UN SUMMIT:Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales and Bono, on behalf of his One anti-poverty campaign, are among those who signed the pledge for access by 2020 Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Corp billionaire Bill Gates on Saturday threw their weight behind the goal of bringing Internet access to everyone in the world by 2020. “I believe Internet access is essential for achieving humanity’s #globalgoals,” reads the Connectivity Declaration released by One and signed by several high-profile people and philanthrophic organizations, including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.“It’s not all altruism,” Mr Zuckerberg said on Saturday, in an implicit acknowledgment that drawing new users to his service is also good for Facebook’s bottom line. “We all benefit when we are more connected.” He said a connection to the internet was “an enabler of human rights” and a “force for peace”.

The declaration was released as the United Nations considered the Global Goals, a development blueprint aimed at solving pressing social and economic challenges. He said Facebook is partnering with the U.N. agency for refugees to bring the Internet to refugee camps. “Connectivity will help refugees better access support from the aid community and maintain their links to families,” he said. Zuckerberg appeared at the UN this week to discuss the Internet component of those goals and explain that “connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation.” “Today over half the people on this planet don’t have access,” Zuckerberg wrote in a joint New York Times op-ed with Bono. “That is not good for anyone — not for the disempowered and disconnected, and not for the other half, whose commerce and security depend on having stable societies.” Zuckerberg pointed to farmers in Africa who use the mobile Web to track inventory and prices, women in South America who use phones to get health information, and refugees who use smartphones to stay in touch with family during their journey to Europe. The 31-year-old entrepreneur pointed to the role of the Internet in empowering otherwise voiceless people in places such as Syria, where civil war is producing a refugee exodus. “A ‘like’ or a post won’t stop a tank or a bullet, but when people are connected, we have the chance to build a common global community with a shared understanding — and that’s a powerful force,” he said. It was attended by government leaders and business executives and was intended to encourage private-sector cooperation to advance the ambitious global development goals adopted Friday in the General Assembly.

In developing countries, only about 35 percent of people have Internet access. “Nine out of 10 rural Africans don’t have electricity,” Zuckerberg said. “Governments can make the difference. Jamie Drummond, global executive director of One, which spearheaded the push, called on every country to come up with an “urgent plan” to meet the access goals.

Releasing the report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that more than $25 billion has been committed so far to meeting the goals, led by $3.3 billion from the United States and large pledges from Canada, Germany and Sweden. This is why we support initiatives like President Obama’s Power Africa plan and the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act in Congress, as well as the African Development Bank’s investments in renewable energy.” Facebook has been working to expand Internet global Internet access via its The campaigners did not announce funding on their own, but the UN has said that the new global goals will cost between US$3.5 trillion and US$5 trillion per year. But Silicon Valley must “do far more for those most marginalized, those trapped in poverty, and those beyond or on the edge of the network,” Zuckerberg and Bono wrote. In April, 65 organizations from around the world sent an open letter to Mr Zuckerberg complaining that the project violated the principles of net neutrality in the guise of “access for impoverished people.” In the courtyard of the UN General Assembly building this past week, Facebook displayed pieces of the mammoth drone that it is building to beam Wi-Fi connections to places that have none.

Mr Zuckerberg’s remarks coincided with a petition that he began with the entertainer Bono, the philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and others to expand connectivity, calling Internet access “essential” to achieving the development goals but skirting thorny issues like net neutrality and Internet censorship.

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