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e& pledges US$6 billion to advance connectivity in 16 countries

e& made a commitment to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Partner2Connect Digital Coalition. In an announcement at Mobile World Congress (MWC), e& pledged to invest $ 6 billion between 2024-2026 in technological advancement, infrastructure development, and innovative digital solutions to extend meaningful connectivity to everyone. This investment is set to provide accessible and affordable network connectivity and digital services across its 16 operating countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Hatem Dowidar, Group Chief Executive Officer, e& said: “With Partner2Connect our commitment to building state-of-the-art connectivity has always been part of our DNA. This plays a key role in supporting the advancement of economies that are digitally inclusive while making people’s overall lives better. With these investments, we can also better serve customers and allow them to engage in more economic activities. As e& pledges to invest $6 billion in digital infrastructure and services, we aim to drive economic growth, innovation, and infrastructure development, significantly reducing inequalities and empowering communities to thrive in a more inclusive and connected digital world.”

For e& customers in emerging markets, new financial, health, and educational services will increasingly hinge on high-speed connections via fibre or wireless broadband. Telecom infrastructure will also be crucial in driving access to education, healthcare, government services, and economic opportunities.

The group’s markets vary from the UAE, with the world’s fastest mobile network and the highest percentage of fibre penetration, to Pakistan and African countries with limited connectivity. With e&’s commitment to the P2C coalition, it will strengthen its innovation capabilities and technology adoption in highly developed markets like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Harrison Lung, Group Chief Strategy Officer, e& said: “Our commitment to ITU’s Partner2Connect Coalition is all about making a meaningful impact on people’s lives, ensuring the digital revolution leaves no one behind. e&’s pledge focuses on building a robust digital ecosystem, empowering communities and connecting people.”

e&’s pledge aims to provide meaningful connectivity in emerging markets, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Chad, Togo, and Niger.

The group investment plan is set to enhance network accessibility and affordability in emerging economies by expanding network coverage and increasing speed and access for individuals in areas where access is limited or expensive. It will also facilitate the widespread adoption of digital services, ensuring essential services like mobile financial solutions, telehealth, and education reach those in underserved regions.

The group is also set to pioneer cutting-edge innovations, expand the application of AI, and reinvest in building networks of the future to accelerate technology adoption and increase fibre penetration and fast mobile network speeds.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General, ITU, said: “Universal meaningful connectivity is within our grasp. Thanks to these new commitments, millions of people will benefit from accessible and affordable connectivity across the world.”

“We believe the journey towards universal and meaningful connectivity is a collective responsibility that requires the will and action of us all. We look forward to partnering with the ITU and governments in contributing to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.” Dowidar added.

With its $6 billion commitment to ITU’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, e& builds on its contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – including Quality Education, Gender Equality, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Reduced Inequalities – while supporting ITU’s efforts to connect the world.

The pledging platform maintained by the ITU has mobilised commitments worth over 46 billion over the past two years, aiming to extend meaningful connectivity to everyone worldwide.

Source: Press Release