ITU Digital World 2021
Event calendar

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

See the full programme
Ministerial Roundtable - Cutting the cost: can affordable access accelerate digital transformation?
Forum session
15:00 - 16:30 (Geneva time) followed by informal networking

Meaningful connectivity - access to and use of relevant internet services - is critical to digital transformation. Ensuring universal access is fast becoming an issue of affordability and capacity rather than infrastructure or technology. According to ITU data, over 90% of the urban population and over 70% of the rural population globally were covered by 4G, satellite or other technologies in 2020 – yet only 51% of the world’s people are using the internet. Barriers to internet adoption include affordability, digital skills, public awareness and the existence of relevant content in local languages. How can governments address the affordability piece of the puzzle? Do manufacturers produce enough affordable devices to allow citizens to connect and use the internet? How can governments work with manufacturers to incentivize cheaper plans or ensure greater availability of low-cost devices? Should governments subsidize access or even provide free connectivity for all? Is there a greater role for more efficient recycling throughout the supply chain? How should governments address the underlying demand-side issues, including the cost of electricity? What innovative policy and regulatory measures or successful public-private models can best reduce the cost of connectivity for end-users?


Join speakers and fellow participants in an informal online networking session immediately after this debate.
Simply click on the link in the debate chat, log in and continue the conversation.

Opening Remarks

Nguyen Manh Hung


Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)

Viet Nam

Houlin Zhao


International Telecommunication Union


Keynote speaker

Phạm Minh Chính

Prime Minister

Government of Viet Nam

Viet Nam


Malcolm Johnson

Deputy Secretary General

International Telecommunication Union



Rashad Nabiyev


Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan


Vandeth Chea


Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia (MPTC)


Paola Vega Castillo


Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones

Costa Rica

Devusinh Chauhan

Minister of State

Ministry of Communications


Boviengkham Vongdara

Minister of Technology and Communications

Ministry of Technology and Communications

Lao P.D.R.

Admiral Tin Aung San

Union Minister

Ministry of Transport and Communications


Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy

Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy


Ramiro Camacho


Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT)


Jean Philbert Nsengimana

Honorary Chairperson

Alliance for Affordable Internet (Web Foundation)

United States

Karim Lesina

EVP Chief External Affairs Officer

Millicom International Cellular S.A.