Question: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with (a) her international counterparts and (b) UN bodies on the provision of cheap and effective internet access to communities in developing countries.
Answer: Grant Shapps, The Minister of State, Department for International Development
Technology has the potential to increase the impact and value for money of UK Aid; and to pull people out of poverty. Many of DFID’s programmes enable communities to access life-changing products and services via the internet, often through a simple mobile phone.
Unfortunately, cost continues to be a barrier to internet access for communities in many developing countries. DFID has supported initiatives such as the Alliance for Affordable Internet – a cross-sector coalition which was formed to bring about policy change to drive down the costs of broadband in developing countries. DFID continues to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders on this agenda including our donor counterparts in the US and Sweden, philanthropic foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the World Wide Web Foundation, technology firms including Google and Facebook and bodies such as the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).