U.S. State Department Unveils Worldwide Connectivity Initiative

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
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Officials plan to promote Internet access in undeveloped areas.

The U.S. State Department has unveiled a new initiative called “Global Connect,” which seeks to bring 1.5 billion people who lack Internet access online by 2020. Catherine Novelli, undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, announced the initiative during a keynote address at the UN Headquarters on “Development in the Digital Age,” which was delivered on behalf of John Kerry, secretary of state.

The undersecretary highlighted how, through Global Connect, major U.S. development agencies will begin to make Internet access a top priority in their work around the world. Officials also will urge international development banks to recognize the Internet as an essential element of every country’s infrastructure—as the World Bank already has done.

Early next year, the State Department will bring together governments and stakeholders to further advance the “Global Connect” initiative and help bridge the digital divide. Officials plan to develop country-specific strategies that can create enabling environments that spur connectivity, entrepreneurship, cross-border information flows and open and competitive marketplaces.

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