ITU launches Connect2Recover to reinforce digital infrastructure in countries affected by COVID-19

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in partnership with Japan and Saudi Arabia, has launched Connect2Recover, which will reinforce affordable and reliable connectivity in beneficiary countries as they adjust to the “new normal”, occasioned by Covid-19.

The essence of the Connect2R​ecover​ is to help countries recover from COVID-19 by expanding access to affordable and reliable connectivity, especially in selected countries in Africa which are some of the least well connected and likely to be hit hard by the pandemic in socio-economic terms.

“ITU and the wider international community is transitioning from aiding countries with their immediate response to COVID-19 to helping countries prepare for and adjust to a ‘new normal’,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

He said Connect2Recover represents ITU’s contribution by facilitating socio-economic recovery through the use of digital infrastructure, services and applications. Thanks to the generous support of the Japanese government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

COVID-19 has highlighted that digital infrastructure is not just a convenience, but an essential requirement for full-fledged participation in society and the economy. Broadband connectivity has proved vital in helping countries’ businesses and citizens adapt and respond to the pandemic, enabling them to access the latest health information and continue working, learning and socializing remotely.

Connect2Recover seeks to expand access to affordable and reliable connectivity, which is an essential aspect of countries’ COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Connect2Recover will consist of three key elements.

First, Connect2Recover will develop a methodology for identifying gaps and bottlenecks in the use of digital networks and technologies at country level: to respond to and mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as prepared for any similar emergencies in the future: and to enable recovery and readiness for the “new normal”.

Second, on the basis of this methodology, Connect2Recover will assist countries in assessing their needs, gaps and bottlenecks, and develop strategies to ensure that the digital infrastructure and ecosystems adequately support recovery efforts and the “new normal.” These strategies will be designed in line with global best practices, as well as with other relevant policy tools developed by ITU and other relevant organizations.

Third, Connect2Recover will conceptualize and implement pilot projects to test specific technological solutions in line with national country strategies and policies. The project will also undertake deep-dive studies in specific areas of digital policy as prioritized by the selected countries, such as digital finance, e-education, e-health, e-government, or teleworking

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