Press Release

Press Release

UN Broadband Commission Releases Key 21st Century Recommendations to Finance Sustainable Broadband Development and Closure of the Digital Divide in the 21st Century

Dubai, 21 September 2021 – The Working Group on 21st Century Financing, Funding and Investment Models, operating within the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development – co-chaired by SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s CEO, Bocar Ba –   released the “Executive Summary” of the forthcoming report on 21st Century Financing Models for Bridging Broadband Connectivity Gaps on Sunday, 19 September 2021 during the Broadband Commission’s Annual Fall Meeting. The upcoming report is a key first step in accelerating more comprehensive and inclusive frameworks for ICT broadband infrastructure development and for providing meaningful connectivity.

The Executive Summary synthesizes the Working Group’s comprehensive report, developed following a two-year fact-finding and deliberation process. It highlights key recommendations within the report, presents practical actions that policymakers, regulators, international organizations, digital economy participants and the private sector can take to innovatively close the digital divide, and sets out a clear vision for a more collaborative approach to bridging connectivity gaps.  These recommendations also align closely with the most recent Agenda for Action issued by the Commission to achieve “faster and better recovery” in the aftermath of the recent pandemic.

Bocar BA highlighted the collaboration-intensive achievement by the Industry’s leading players – including national regulatory authorities, telecommunications operators, financial institutions, trade associations, academics and not-for-profit development organizations and industry bodies. By delivering a set of 21st Century Financing, Funding and Investment models that aim to address shortfalls in existing ways of financing infrastructure and that reflect the changed market realities of the 21st Century, the multi-stakeholder accomplishment re-affirms the Commission’s core mandate of bringing meaningful and affordable connectivity to the world’s entire population.

Bocar commended all WG members and supporting Commissioners for their sustained engagement and expert input that gave rise to a successful outcome of the work of two years and stressed upon the significance of the four strategic recommendations contained in the Executive Summary of (1) broadening the base of contributors, (2) earmarking proceeds from ICT sector participants, (3) reforming universal service and access funds and, (4) the creation of an international fund as positive steps in achieving the Commission’s 2025 Targets as well as the UN 2030 SDGs. Bocar stated that “Now, we must gear ourselves up for the task at hand, to ensure that we will advance in our joint goal of connecting the remaining un- and under-connected 3.7 billion. We will start our advocacy now on these 4 key strategic recommendations. I can envision our Working Group’s recommendations leading the world to continued innovation and new broadband development initiatives.”

The Working Group for 21st Century Financing and Funding Models for Sustainable Broadband Development was established as a cross-sector group of thought-leaders and operated under the auspices of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. Its members included national regulatory authorities, telecommunications operators, financial institutions, trade associations, academics and not-for-profit development organizations and its central objective was to explore and identify new and innovative funding, financing and investment strategies to address the challenge of extending broadband connectivity and services to those who, to this day, remain unconnected, particularly in Africa, Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands.

The Executive Summary of the report developed by Working Group on 21st Financing, Funding and Investment Models can be downloaded from the Broadband Commission’s website here: