Rethinking Partnerships: Accelerating Connectivity for Sustainable Development

In this session of the Road to Addis Series entitled “Rethinking Partnerships and their role in accelerating connectivity for sustainable development”, esteemed panelists explored and reshaped some of the principles and foundations of Partnerships, in order to make them more effective for achieving the SDGs.

2 February 2021 


Mr. David Kirkpatrick, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Techonomy Media 


Mr. Brelotte Ba, CEO Orange Mali 

Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau 

Mr. Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum 

Mr. Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-Founder, Gebeya, Inc.  

Ms. Wendy Mars, President of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia, Cisco 

Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director and CEO, UN Global Compact 

The Sustainable Development Goals are not only a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity, for all people and our planet, now and in the future; but also, an urgent call to all countries and stakeholders to take action as a global partnership. We had an Agenda to achieve these by 2030 — but, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a halt.  

With schools, workplaces, and borders closed, the world made an immediate transition to digital – from remote education, teleworking and telemedicine, to staying in touch with family, friends, and colleagues – showing the importance of being online in continuing our lives.  

But for half of the world, the crisis meant life simply stopped. 3.7 billion people – half of humanity – are offline. By being unable to connect to education, to work, to each other, to life-saving information and supplies, this crisis threatens to reverse any development, particularly among the most vulnerable. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity, especially to accelerate the global socioeconomic recovery we have ahead of us, and ultimately, to get back on track to achieve the SDGs. 

With the theme, “Connecting the unconnected to achieve sustainable development,” ITU’s annual World Telecommunication Development Conference this year, to be held in Addis Ababa in November, will focus on six (6) enablers for accelerating connectivity for sustainable development; one of which is PartnershipsIn an exploration around Partnerships for Connectivity, ITU hosted its first session in its Road to Addis series focusing on “Rethinking Partnerships and their role in accelerating connectivity for sustainable development.”  

In this session, esteemed guests explored and reshaped the way we need to think about partnerships – including some of the principles and foundations behind them – in order to make them more effective in advancing connectivity and achieving the SDGs. They also discussed how shared value partnerships can support those who are left furthest behind, as well as safeguard investments already made to date.