Press Release

Press Release

SAMENA Council’s CEO Bocar BA advocates adoption of innovative financing models at WSIS 2024 to bridge digital divide

At the WSIS 2024 Leaders TalkX session, titled "Partnership Pivot: Innovating International Cooperation to Scale Digital Inclusion," SAMENA Telecommunications Council, represented by CEO Bocar Ba, emphasized the critical need for enhanced international collaboration and innovative financing to address the global digital divide. With 2.6 billion people lacking access to ICTs, Ba underscored the importance of strategic partnerships and sustainable investment models.

In his address, Ba identified the most compelling element for uniting stakeholders in universal digital inclusion: unlocking access to capital by broadening the contributor base for financing digital infrastructure. He highlighted that connectivity is foundational for economic and societal inclusion, requiring a structured approach to mobilize substantial and sustained investment. Ba advocated expanding the base of contributors beyond the traditional telecom industry to include global digital platforms, content providers, financial institutions, development banks, and governments.

Ba drew on his experience as co-chair of the UN Broadband Commission's former Working Group on 21st-century financing models, promoting a Universal Broadband Financing Framework to secure the necessary capital for universal access initiatives. He called for collaborative investment approaches and flexible, technology-neutral regulatory frameworks to ensure equitable access to digital transformation benefits. Ba reaffirmed SAMENA Council’s commitment to promoting a digitally inclusive global society through strategic initiatives and policy recommendations.