Millennium Development Goals and the Magic of Broadband

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Millennium Development Goals and the Magic of Broadband

Dr Hamadoun Touré

Dr Hamadoun Touré’s: “the eight MDGs cannot be separated. If you combat disease, you also reduce child mortality..."

Dr Hamadoun Touré

Dr Hamadoun Touré’s: “the eight MDGs cannot be separated. If you combat disease, you also reduce child mortality…”

It’s perhaps revelatory to think that mobile broadband technology can help eradicate hunger, disease and other long-established life extinguishers; many believe that getting the world ‘connected’ could be the answer to some of the planet’s most persistent and devastating problems. Dr Hamadoun Touré, the secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union – the U.N.’s agency for ICT – has written a lengthy piece on CNN about the necessity to provide third world countries with adequate telecommunications.

It’s easy to think that many multi-national broadband companies and service providers are eager to tap into the still nascent markets of many African countries with their broadband services. But, the idea that farmers might be able to better feed their communities with weather information; doctors might be better equipped with vaccines with internet access and more, is something that suddenly makes since. As the countries in the west fiddle with new gimmicky apps from the Apple store, it leaves the question in one’s mind if these smartphone inventions, and new generation tech advances have a real function for serving humanity. Now there seems to be emerging data, in the affirmative, to that question.

Touré’s comments make sense: “the eight MDGs cannot be separated. If you combat disease, you also reduce child mortality; if you give every child a primary education, you promote gender equality. It is because these goals are interlinked that broadband is so important.” It is with the target of all nations having a national, affordable broadband strategy in place by 2015 that many of the poorest nations of the world hope to begin their ascent out of poverty. That is the idea being worked on by the U.N. and others; it’s achievable and it will transform lives. This is a positive outgrowth of the current technological ‘revolution’ – and it certainly puts a different slant on the middle class obsession with connectivity and the vanity bubble therein.