“If daily access to meaningful connectivity is affordable, people can get on when they want, for as long as they want, how they want.”
— Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner, TLcom Capital
WATCH THE REPLAY
As developing countries struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, digital solutions are enabling economic transformation and putting them on a path toward green, resilient, and inclusive growth. Private and public investment in digital solutions is bringing critical services to the poorest, creating jobs, strengthening small and medium businesses, enabling trade and services, and building resilience to shocks. At the same time, more than half the developing world remains digitally unconnected, and risks around privacy and cybersecurity are growing worldwide.
The discussion about the digital revolution highlighted innovative ways countries are using digital technologies. From digital financial services, to remote schooling, to more inclusive government services, digital solutions are accelerating more equitable and resilient growth. We heard from public and private sector leaders from around the globe about how safe and effective digital technology has become essential to development in the digital age.
00:00 Welcome! WBG Spring Meetings 2022 | The Digital Revolution
03:40 Data in focus: Digital divide and the impact on businesses
05:16 Addressing the divides and opening digital opportunities
25:48 The progress in Rwanda’s digital journey
47:29 Data in focus: Digital divide and essential services
49:12 How governments are using digital technologies for services
1:05:20 Social media conversation and poll results
1:08:02 Live Q&A: Digital revolution for an inclusive growth
1:19:54 Digital health pass in Cabo Verde
1:22:00 Closure | Thanks for watching the WBG Spring Meetings 2022
“If daily access to meaningful connectivity is affordable, people can get on when they want, for as long as they want, how they want.”
— Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner, TLcom Capital
“This issue of the digital divide is so big; nobody can solve it by themselves… but across the board we can. Public-private partnerships are important.”
— Michael Miebach, Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard
“We are digitizing public services so that citizens can access [them] in a way that is easy and transparent. The goal is to have trustworthy relationships between citizens and [the government].”
— Ghita Mezzour, Minister of Digital Transition and Administration Reform, Morocco
“Digitalization increases productivity, money-making capacity and entrepreneurism, which are all so important to growth.”
— David Malpass, President, World Bank Group
For this Q&A, a great number of questions were submitted in advance. We asked the audience to help us select the questions that should be put to our experts. The star symbol ✮ indicates the most voted submissions.
Amy Adkins Harris (Moderator)
Please continue to submit your questions and comments here on World Bank Live. You can also follow the discussion on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, using #PowerOfDigital.
Amy Adkins Harris (Moderator)
✮ Aswini Ramkumar
Casey Torgusson / World Bank It's important to address both the supply and demand side market failures that result in a lack of network access. On the supply side a regulatory environment that encourages competition and private investment in networks and services is critical but in some cases that is not enough. Public financing or other guarantees or incentives may also be required to bridge the commercial viability gap in areas of low population density or low incomes. Subsidies to address affordability gap for connectivity services or digital devices can also help. Building digital literacy and availability of useful digital services and content can also improve the value proposition to end users. This report provides a global overview of innovative business models for network deployment and closing the access gap: www.worldbank.org
✮ Lekan Alao How can the availability of digital equipments be extended to the reach of the lowly placed individual users & investors in developming countries who are handicapped by its scarcity? Thank you. Have a happy spring session.
Casey Torgusson / World Bank This is an important question as the global access gap is increasingly becoming one of affordability of services and access to devices rather than network coverage. Private sector innovation continues to drive down the cost of devices, but support from governments and financial instiutions to assist the most vulnerable can also help through direct subsidies, guarantee schemes to allow providers to allow users to pay for devices over time and other mechanisms. This is an active area of research at the Bank and we hope to have more evidence to share from ongoing pilots soon.
✮ Runa What would the world say in next 10 years related to digital revolution and what sort of jobs would be in demand?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank It's difficult to predict 10 years into the future given the rapid pace of technology and technology enabled business model evolution, however the World Development Report 2019 - The Changing Nature of Work gives a comprehensive overview of the changing landscape and what Governments, Businesses and Individuals can do to prepare and thrive: www.worldbank.org
Muhammad Khalid KHan Hurdles are unmatched from country to country. Digital transformation is having strong links with financial inclusion and capacity building. How to create more symbiotic relationships for achieving maximum participation of stakeholders.
Casey Torgusson / World Bank "Killer use cases" such as digital financial services are both the result of prior investments in digital infrastructure and skills and key drivers of future demand. Similarly with e-commerce and online work platforms, video and text communications, social media, e-learning, ride hailing, mapping and navigation, digital identification, etc. Governments can play a role by fully digitizing and automating public services to both take advantage of innovations such as digital payments and digital ID to help further drive these synergies. Synergies between energy and digital access can also be captured to lower deployment costs of the infrastructure and services and to ensure the customers' ability to charge devices and easily pay their utility bills.
✮ Pragya Prasad How the preconditions such as physical infrastructure for effective performance of digital technology is managed and monitored ?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank When looking to support national level digital transformation and development of digital economies, we typically focus on five key foundations including digital infrastructure, digital skills, digital government platforms/services, digital financial services and digital business. These need to be complemented by cross-cutting enablers such as cybersecurity, data protection and privacy and digital inclusion. With respect to digital infrastructure, a number of institutions such as the ITU and GSMA offer publicly available global indices of digital infrastructure and access data to help assess and benchmark performance, while national telecoms regulators typically have the most up to data data and the mandate for industry accountability alongside the policies set by relevant Government ministries.
✮ AKINRADEWO A.M.OROBOLA How can we make technology and innovation more sustainable in a Community that has no access to digital infrastructures? why those who have access are faced with high cybercrime due to poverty, lack of employment and other digital factors?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Cyber risks are growing rapidly and its increasingly difficult for governments and individuals to keep up. For individuals and institutions, basic cyber awareness is often the most effective defense, though this is not enough. This is a growing area of focus and support from the World Bank in our investment and technical assistance projects and through a recently launched Global Fund for Cybersecurity. blogs.worldbank.org
✮ Emmel Blamoh Sonpon My question has to do with the internet, Africa as we know it communication roads are a very challenging issues on the continent. My question now is how can internet be assessable to the entire continent to fully enable completely digitally transform Africa to meet global demand in the space of online activities like jobs education e-commerce etc.
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Access to the internet is essential for individuals and businesses to thrive in a digital world. Tackling the coverage and access gaps requires a mix of good regulation, business model innovation and sometimes public investment to expand the reach, lower the costs and improve the performance of networks and services and to ensure affordability and skills to use it among the population. For ideas on innovative business models for network deployment and access see: www.worldbank.org
Jihad Ghadieh What is the impact of digitization in the public sector on the labor force, especially when the government may minimize the number of personnel required to complete the task by using digitization?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Digitization can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration and service delivery - driving time and cost savings and improving the user experience. This is likely to increase the demand and workforce required to support IT functions and the digital skills required for all public employees. In general, increased digitization and automation has not led to a reduction in workforce needs as it leads to expanded markets and a wider range of service offerings. See the World Development Report 2019 - The Future of Work for more insights: www.worldbank.org
Samuel umoh For Internet to be a thing of all, we must consider creating educational environment within our localities, mostly in remote areas like sub-saharan Africa and othe relevance areas.
justusnjuki I'm in Nairobi,Kenya and am happy to know that Mathare is in limelight. Great insights there. Thank you!
Tapiwanashe Hadzizi How best can we integrate the concept digital inclusion, despite the notion of digital inequality in rural/countryside Africa, were most of our people resides, but fairly one way or the other, they have access to the internet, smart phone and social media?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Digital Inclusion is incredibly important given the huge benefits that accrue to the “digital haves” and the growing inequality that can result for the “digital have nots” as communications, commerce and services move increasingly online. Inclusion has may aspects but some of the most important are affordability of digital communications services and digital devices, expanding digital literacy and improving the “value proposition” for individuals and businesses to invest their incomes in purchasing services and devices and investing time and energy in building digital skills by ensuring that highly useful digital content and services are available in local languages and digital marketplaces. Much of this needs to be driven by private sector innovation and investment but governments must do their part to ensure a conducive legal, regulatory and tax environment and play a role in bridging the affordability and skills gaps in rural areas and among the left behind populations
gditlhokwa The best approach to re-thinking digital inclusivity is fostering digital literacy to empower especially, the rural communities with the digital skills they need to become part of the global digital economy. It has become one of the biggest challenges in the sub-Saharan countries to close the digital gap within their own spaces. One of the major hiccups to this is the fact that mostly, government alone is expected to come up with turn-around strategy for this “inclusivity”. However, the full involvement of the private sector and other entities is paramount through a multi-stakeholder approach. The future of investment should be in the digital skills for a revitalized and inclusive digital global economy.
Amy Adkins Harris (Moderator) There is still time to cast your vote before we share the results of our interactive poll! @lanawong01 and @matisridhar will share the final results.
AngiePH Can we provide comments on the questions posted by the attendees?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank It's impor
Amy Adkins Harris (Moderator) Absolutely! Please include the question in your comments.
Henriette Kolb Michael, thanks for your inspirational leadership when it comes to ESG link to bonus pay. How do you think more broadly about building trust in corporate setting. Interesting new study by Deloitte: www2.deloitte.com
Ismaila A. Hassan In an environment where the energy to power and drive the digital tech transformation across the broader economy is unreasonable, what can we take first hand to remedy the situation?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Energy access is an essential part of the equation to digital access – to both power networks and datacenters and to charge devices. However, digital technologies are not just dependent on energy but can be part of the solution to energy gaps. For example, the “pay-as-you-go” business model powered through mobile money and mobile communications/operations technology has unlocked growth of the off grid solar sector across many parts of Africa and increasingly globally. Digital technologies can also make on-grid solutions cheaper, cleaner and more efficient – utilizing fiber networks along power transmission lines to carry commercial communications traffic, create smart grids, and utilizing mobile technologies to power smart meters and digital payments to digitize customer management and tariff collection to reduce losses and lower the cost of energy service delivery.
Mobolaji Are we going to have consider cybersecurity as well discuss and pursue digital transformation so that we avoid the associated cybersecurity issues that will arise from successful DT.
Uwe Christian Martinz We are working on a National Connectivity / Digitalization project in El Salvador. We see BB Connectivity as a key requirement, but the digital services layer on top as the real aim of any sustainable, transformation model. We are working on fintech options for financial inclusion for the informal sector of El Salvador (+75% of population). Michael Miebach´s view on this, safety aspects etc. and Master Cards initiatives are 100% aligned with our view of how this needs to be addressed. I would love to have a more detailed conversation with Michael on concrete projects for the Central American Northern Triangle and opportunities of cooperation with Master Card.
Eugene Rhuggenaath How are traditional commercial banks contributing to financial inclusion and closing the digital divide in developing countries, and remote, rural communities?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Sharing on behalf of IFC colleagues: Many traditional commercial banks are rolling out their own digital strategies so that people in remote areas can reach financial services without having to go to brick and mortar branches.
Josephine Davies All the great opportunity in other counties, Why others can have accesses and some more are left out . Country like Sierra Leone will like to partner and compete also please that happen for us .
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Many developing countries lag behind developed countries in terms of digital infrastructure development, digital inclusion and development of digitally enabled industry and jobs. A key consideration to improving competitiveness is the size of the digital markets. By integrating digital infrastructure, data and services markets with neighboring countries and ensuring adoption and harmonization of best practices to strengthen the legal and regulatory enabling environments, and collaborating to develop a larger pool of digitally skilled citizens, developing regions can greatly increase their attractiveness as digital investment destinations and create a larger “domestic” market for their digital firms and digital workers to offer their products and services before having to compete with the global giants.
Jorge Roques How should we advocate for digital inclusion when, for so many communities, there are still gaps in more basic needs such as food, water and electricity.
Casey Torgusson / World Bank It’s important to consider digital technologies and digital access as a tool for achieving wider socio-economic development goals more cheaply, efficiently and effectively. It can help improve agricultural productivity, access to markets and logistics of food delivery, improve the efficiency of energy services delivery and grid management while enabling affordable off grid solar solutions, and improve management of water infrastructure and water resources.
Abdel Lawani I think that the poll encapsulates the need to in foster digital inclusion. In my view digital infrastructure is the first priority, followed by digital identity promoted by the government, in order to increase financial inclusion and payment through fintech. I would advocate for more affordable devices, local languages, use of audio and video messages in order to increase adoption by the underserved. I would be very happy be to hear about various initiatives of the World Bank that could support startup, companies and government toward that objective. Thank you
Fariha irfan My name is fariha Irfan .want to b part of world Bank digital development programme.as I m enterpnure and leading women based business.
Soraya What financial service does the unbanked impoverished communities that makes up most of the 1.7 billion unbanked people need .... what financial services will assist them when all the need is to be paid the measly salary they earn to put bread on the table. The only thing the unbanked will bring is more profits for banks whether digital or not
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Submitted on behalf of IFC colleagues: The unbanked also have complicated financial lives, they need to save for items like school fees, and large purchases, or cover short term financial credit needs to cover unexpected larger purchases. Financial services can help with these savings like product too, and also better terms for short term borrowings rather than taking from loan sharks with high interest rates.
Chabwela While we have developed, developing and LDCs, I bring your attention to LDCs and DCs that are fragile, such as South Sudan. Through South-South cooperation, South Sudan can be aided to catch up! The AU is only as strong as its weakest link. The digital divide can also be perceived from a nation to nation angle.
gihanad Great inspiration from H.E Paul Kagame. Rwanda is an example of how political will and the top leadership of the country has embraced digitalization has enabled public service delivery. Keep up the great work, Mr.President!
TeddyAddah A country like Ghana is taking advantage of the digital revolution to overburden the population with unnecessary e-taxes. Closing up the digital divide is a gradual process. African governments should look for different sources of generating revenue until the total migration is complete. A lot of people are declining from digital financial transactions and the usage of e wallets. I work directly with smallholder farmers. However the e-lavey tax passed in Ghana is making it difficult to digitize the transaction and operation of smallholder farmers.
Epa Ndahimana The coverage of internet put aside; the question we should ask should be if many citizens in Sub-Saharan Africa have the financial capacity to afford the cost of internet and digital services?
Daniel Kabasha The average of connected citizen allover african countries is too low, specialy in my Country the Democratic Republic of Congo where access to internet is an expensive deal. How do World Bank and other countries like Rwanda help so that all contries may have access to internet for digital transformation?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank There are many entry points to increasing investment in digital infrastructure and lowering the costs of delivering and accessing digital connectivity services. Optimizing the legal, regulatory and policy environment is often the most important in order to drive private sector led investment, competition and business model and technology innovation. Governments can also encourage investment and improved affordability through public private partnerships, coverage obligations, tax exemptions, spectrum policies, support to improve affordability of connectivity services and devices for disadvantaged households and individuals. For landlocked countries such as DRC, the policies and infrastructure of neighboring countries is also critical to ensure competitive, low-cost transit services to carry internet traffic to global submarine cables.
Amy Adkins Harris (Moderator) Stay tuned for a Q&A with World Bank Group experts Doyle Gallegos and Leila Search, who will answer some of your questions!
Want to see digital revolution in action? Stay tuned for a short video from Cabo Verde, West Africa.
Khondker Zakiur Rahman Where inequality is high and it is increasing how it can be possible to ensure resilient growth?
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Universal access to the internet and digital literacy are key tools for addressing overall inequality and ensuring that digital technologies don’t exacerbate inequality. It can be a leveler in terms of access to services, job and livelihood opportunities for otherwise excluded groups. It can also help diversify an economy away from resource intensive industries vulnerable to climate change or other shocks. However, it won’t happen on its own – governments need to adopt an explicit focus and interventions to achieve universal access and the World Bank stands ready to help.
Seth Ayim My name is Seth Ayim, Technology Interventions Program Manager at TechnoServe, BeninCaju Labs. My question how you ensure technology interventions developed by international development communities are sustainable when the project is over a
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Sustainability is a continual challenge. Part of the solution is for Governments to prioritize interventions that can be sustainably carried forward by private sector actors after an initial assist in terms of financial, policy or regulatory support from Governments. For provision of digital public goods (connectivity and services for public administration, schools, hospitals, digitized access to public services, etc.), it will be important to build in recurring financial support through general budgets over time to ensure that there is capacity to carry on successful interventions once specific projects close. Likewise it is important to build capacity within government and other institutions that will persist beyond project closure. Tools such as universal service funds can also be re-tooled to support ongoing operations and maintenance gaps and demand side barriers to keep rural networks functioning and to continue to make devices and access affordable.
tawa Hello i come from Sub Sahara Africa are there programs in place to help startups in fintech that are ideation stage
Casey Torgusson / World Bank Submitted on behalf of IFC Colleagues: There are many programs out there that are incubating and accelerating start-ups, including fintechs in SSA. This is a mapping we have done at IFC of all the programs that helping start ups from the idea stage to the growth phase in SSA: live.worldbank.org
AKINRADEWO A.M.OROBOLA Thank you WBG and big thanks to all the speakers, wonderful presentation.
The Spring Meetings bring together leaders from government, business, international organizations, and civil society, along with a diverse group of experts, to discuss global challenges and the path ahead. Watch the replay of our events dedicated to international development.
Apr. 12: Addressing Challenges
Apr. 19: Responding to Global Shocks
Apr. 20: Opening Press Conference
Apr. 20: The Digital Revolution
Apr. 21: Financing Climate Action
Apr. 21: Support to Ukraine
Apr. 22: Fragility
Apr. 22: Preserving Open Trade
Apr. 23: Human Capital