EDISON Alliance improves lives of over 700mln people, welcomes four new countries

DAVOS-KLOSTERS, 16 JANUARY 2024 – The EDISON Alliance, a global coalition of leaders from the private sector, governments, academia, and civil society, has today released its second Annual Impact Report, revealing that its partners have improved the lives of 784 million people through 320 initiatives across 127 countries through digital solutions. This significant milestone represents a 73 percent increase in lives impacted since January 2023.

The report highlights the progress made against the Alliance’s 1 Billion Lives Challenge, an ambitious goal set to enhance the lives of 1 billion people by 2025 through affordable and accessible digital solutions in healthcare, education, and financial services.

“Access to digital services is crucial for reducing socioeconomic disparities,” said Sebastian Buckup, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum [WEC]. “By democratizing access to digital technology, we open doors to better education, economic opportunities, and a more inclusive global economy”.

The report finds that 94mln individuals benefited from educational initiatives, multiplying by four the number of lives reached compared to the previous year. This progress is crucial in addressing the stagnation in global education, where 16 percent of children and youth remain out of school. The alliance’s partner initiatives also brought digital financial service access to 463mln people, a 65 percent increase since last year.

The report also delves into new partnerships, enabled by the EDISON Alliance, in the space of digital health, digital finance and digital education, and outlines what is needed to scale existing efforts on the ground.

Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria officially join the EDISON Lighthouse Countries Network, whose current members include Bahrain, Bangladesh, Honduras, Rwanda, Togo and the United Arab Emirates.

The network has played a pivotal role in scaling national-level impact. In Rwanda, a partnership with Mastercard has introduced bespoke digital financial services tailored to the Rwandan market’s unique needs. Bangladesh, another member of the EDISON Lighthouse Countries Network, has effectively leveraged the Alliance’s collective knowledge to enhance its digital education services.

“Rwanda is benefitting significantly from its participation in the EDISON Alliance Lighthouse Countries Network,” said Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda. Our involvement has allowed us to draw in partners to support our ambitions to become a cashless economy and ensure financial inclusion and digital skills access for our citizens. We have also been able to engage in peer-to-peer exchanges with other member countries to share best practices on how to accelerate universal digital inclusion.”

Alongside the lighthouse countries, the EDISON Alliance’s success is also underpinned by a community of over 160 changemakers from various sectors.

“No matter where you were born or where you live, everybody should have access to the digital services that are necessary to fully participate in 21st-century society,” said Hans Vestberg, Founder and Chairman of the EDISON Alliance and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Verizon. “Helping all people access our shared future has been my life’s work and it’s what we at Verizon work to address every day.”

The Alliance was formed out of the conviction that access to online services and broadband networks is an essential feature of 21st century life, and that communities without it would be unable to fully participate in global society. While 95 percent of the world’s population lives within reach of broadband networks, a lack of accessibility, affordability, and usability has kept 2.7bln people offline.

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