Speeches Shim

Afghan women sit in a class and study using mobile phones in Kabul. Jawad Jalali/AFP
Afghan women sit in a class and study using mobile phones in Kabul.
Jawad Jalali/AFP

Digital technologies have transformed the ways in which we interact with businesses, governments, and each other. While much of the world has access to a basic mobile phone, the full potential for digital technologies has not yet been realized. Right now, approximately four billion people in developing countries still do not have access to the internet, including a staggering 93 percent of households in the least developed countries. And women are, on average, 14 percent less likely to own mobile phones than their male counterparts. This ongoing digital divide decreases stability, reduces resiliency, and prohibits countries from achieving their full potential on their journey to self-reliance.

As part of USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab, the Center for Digital Development (CDD) works to address gaps in digital access, affordability, and advance the use of technology and advanced data analysis in development. Taking a multi-pronged approach, CDD leverages the resources of USAID, its implementing partners, and other actors in three main ways:

  • Catalyzing Open, Secure, and Inclusive Digital Ecosystems
    • Leveraging multi-stakeholder alliances, CDD supports the enabling environment that serves as a foundation for inclusive digital infrastructure and services.
  • Building USAID Capacity
    • Through a suite of technical trainings, a series of toolkits and guidance documents, and growing network of Mission-based specialists, CDD cultivates a strong community of practice around Digital Development at USAID.
  • Accelerating USAID Programming
    • CDD works to foster market-led innovation and integrate digital technology, advanced data and geographic analysis, and align digital development best practices into the strategic planning and design of enterprise-driven programs across the Agency and with partners.

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