A new toolkit, Bridging the Digital Innovation Divide has been developed by ITU to help countries develop a Digital Innovation Framework, a set of policies and projects that foster national innovation.
“In recent years, ITU innovation research has shown that there is a growing digital innovation divide among countries,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General.
“The newly launched ITU toolkit will empower countries to accelerate their digital transformation. Furthermore, the development by countries of a Digital Innovation Framework will help to strengthen and connect small- and medium-sized enterprises to global ICT ecosystems,” added Zhao.
As an example of how this tool can be used to bridge the digital divide, a Rwanda country review, led by ITU, has helped to strengthen the existing innovation ecosystem in the country.
“The key to winning the future for the next generation is job creation through the powerful combination of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICT of Rwanda.
“Under the Smart Rwanda Master Plan, Rwanda’s digital transformation journey has taken off, but much more remains to be done. The Digital Innovation Framework will be instrumental in accelerating the growth and maturity of our technology ecosystem and enabling the young people of Rwanda and Africa to create profitable tech enterprises that will transform education, healthcare, finance, government and other key domains of our economy,” said Nsengimana.
“Innovation plays a major role in the global development agenda by enabling digital transformation and creating new and improved services for citizens. Bringing multiple stakeholders and sectors together to strengthen innovation ecosystems is essential to unlocking opportunities and ensuring sustainability,” said Brahima Sanou, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director.
“In Bangladesh, we have been able to successfully develop a strong culture of innovation in the public sector. We have started fostering private sector-led innovation and we find the release of the ITU toolkit very timely. We hope it will enable us to do two things we are keenly interested in: development leapfrogging and South-South cooperation,” said Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, the head of civil service in Bangladesh.
ITU and the Government of Bangladesh intend to collaborate to develop strategies and projects that will help the country to build and accelerate its innovation ecosystem, and foster the expansion of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Areas of collaboration include developing a study of the digital innovation ecosystem using the ITU toolkit, providing advice to ITU member states, sharing experiences and best practices, and contributing to the strengthening of ITU’s innovation platform and toolkits.