Remarks by Ambassador King
Commission for Science and Technology and Development Lunch
Global Broadband and Innovations
May 23, 2012
Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the “Global and Broadband Initiatives Lunch” in congruence with the 15th Commission on Science and Technology for Development. I want to thank you all for attending today’s panel and for joining us here at lunch which is meant to be very informal and offer an opportunity for networking and continued discussion. I would also like to extend a special thanks to our panelists for the insights that they have already provided on extending rural access to information communications technology (ITC).
As frequent beneficiaries of broadband technology, today’s topic is particularly relevant to each of our daily lives. More and more, we understand that technology, including ICT, has vast potential. The deployment of technology and bold new ideas in the face of global challenges has yielded many benefits.
Today, thanks to cell phones, poor farmers can compare prices and sell what they grow at higher prices. Health workers can collect information and track outbreaks in real time. Mobile banking can give the poor the ability to save and receive essential assistance when disaster strikes. Finally, technology can also promote change, build coalitions, inform and empower citizens.
President Obama has called for an extension of “game-changing science and technology to help spark historic leaps in development.” Secretary Clinton and Administrator Raj Shah of the Agency for International Development have embraced the President’s call and put innovation in science and technology at the core of our development strategy. The United States views the expansion of affordable broadband and access to mobile Internet services as two of these “game-changing” solutions.
While technology can’t solve every problem we face, new tools can change the reality of what’s possible. We believe that there is great potential for broadband networks and mobile internet to play a crucial role in growing economies and help to lift people out of poverty. We also believe that a critical component of making this possible is by building effective alliances between the public and private sectors. In order to make this happen we need both vision at the top and action at the grass roots.
At this point, I am pleased to give the floor to Darrell Owen from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Darrell will discuss the Global Broadband and Innovations program and spend some time reviewing the need for strategic vision and action at the local level as well as the role of public and private collaboration in these endeavors.