Investing in Digital Inclusion and Last Mile Connectivity in Asia

Event Details
  • June 4th, Monday, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
  • Breakout Room 325
John Garrity

John Garrity

Senior Connectivity Advisor USAID

Read session notes here.

Session Description

The incredible proliferation of mobile phones and the internet offers a profound opportunity to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of social impact across key sectors in the region such as health, agriculture, education, and governance.  However, only one in three people in the developing world are connected to the internet and within this, women are at a further disadvantage as the gap between men and women with access to internet reaches 25%.  While many stakeholders in the social sector are underpinning their solutions on beneficiaries being able to be connected, significant barriers still persist for people in developing countries in Asia to effectively access the internet.

This session will explore the importance of access to mobile services and the internet for social impact solutions to be implemented, and more importantly scaled effectively in the social sector.  How can impact be created if beneficiaries cannot access, have the means or financial ability to be able to adopt voice and internet connectivity?  It will present innovative connectivity solutions that are emerging to reach low-income consumers in the most challenging markets and discuss the role that social investors can play to support and scale these market-based solutions.

For more insights into the challenges and opportunities that innovative last-mile connectivity enterprises are facing, read the blog post by USAID.

Key Takeaways:

  • What is the state of digital inclusion in Asia and what role can social investors play in closing the digital divide?
  • How does voice and data connectivity lead to social impact outcomes, particularly for low-income and marginalized communities in Asia? And how do we measure this impact?
  • What are some examples of innovative solutions that have been used to provide connectivity? How have funders and resource providers (intermediaries) invested in enterprises offering these solutions as well as measuring their social impact?
  • Where can current and new investors go to explore resources and identify pipeline for last-mile connectivity investment opportunities?


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