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ITU, the UN Agency for Digital Technologies, announced USD 4.8 billion dollars in investment commitments toward global connectivity. The new commitments announced​ cover the US, Canada, and South Africa.

Commitments for AI, Connectivity and Digital Inclusion

AT&T, a prominent US telecom giant, has pledged an additional USD 3 billion to assist 25 million individuals in the most challenging-to-connect areas of the United States, aiming to achieve and maintain connectivity by 2030. This brings AT&T's total commitment since 2021 to narrow the digital divide to USD 5 billion.

Meanwhile, the Government of Canada is directing its focus towards investing in computing infrastructure to bolster AI businesses and researchers within the country through the CAD 2 billion (USD 1.46 billion) AI Compute Access Fund. Additionally, an extra commitment of CAD 400 million (USD 292 million) will be allocated to drive AI adoption across Canada's economy. This initiative aims to aid small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in integrating AI into their operations, facilitating skills development for workers, and establishing the Canadian AI Safe Institute to enhance understanding and protection against the risks associated with advanced AI systems.

Read More: UK and Canada Forge New Pathways in AI Collaboration and Innovation

Furthermore, Microsoft has introduced a new pledge, marking its fifth commitment to the P2C. This pledge will focus on supporting projects and fostering partnerships to accelerate the inclusion and representation of people with disabilities in technology systems, designs, and features, including AI.

Elle International has also made three pledges totaling USD 106 million to enhance the quality of life for 20 million women and girls in South Africa. These commitments involve providing digital platforms, smart solutions, data, and AI models to promote connectivity, digital transformation, and open science in women's health.

“It's extremely exciting to see new pledges begin to leverage the power of artificial intelligence to transform the inclusive digital societies we all aspire to build,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin.

ITU Partner2Connect Digital Coalition

The latest announcement increases the total pledges for closing the digital divide through ITU's Partner2Connect Digital Coalition (P2C) to USD 50.96 billion, surpassing half of the USD 100 billion goal set for 2026.

"Closing the digital divide requires a team effort, and today we scored a huge win for global connectivity," concluded Bogdan-Martin.

In 2021, the Geneva-based UN agency launched P2C with the aim of using public-private partnerships to help increase digitalization in the world's hardest-to-connect communities.

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