Overcoming the Digital Gap, Communications and Informatics Minister Encourages Continued Discussion on Digital Connectivity

Yogyakarta, 17 May 2022 – The Second Session of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) will continue the discussion from the previous meeting. Communications and Informatics Minister, Johnny G. Plate, hopes that the delegations from the G20 member countries can exchange perspectives on the three priority issues of the DEWG. Communications and Informatics Minister emphasized the efforts to overcome the digital gap by building digital connectivity or telecommunications infrastructure.

“DEWG’s three priority issues are Connectivity and Post Covid-19 Recovery, Digital Skills and Digital Literacy, and Cross Border Data Flow, and Data Free Flow with Trust,” he explained at the Opening Remarks of the 2nd DEWG Meeting at Hotel Tentrem, Yogyakarta, Tuesday, May 17.

Communications and Informatics Minister emphasized that the discussion focused on inclusiveness, empowerment, and sustainability in strengthening the global position to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. “A discussion that will not only help us to recover together but also to recover stronger,” he said.

Minister Johnny stated that discussions on post-Covid-19 recovery facilitated through digital technology were on the main agenda. “I believe we have all witnessed the important role of ICT in helping people cope with the Covid-19 pandemic impact,” he said.

Overcoming the Digital Gap

On this occasion, the Communications and Informatics Minister re-emphasized the digital gap still present in the world’s population. Data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) stated that in 2021, 2.9 billion people never used the internet. According to World Bank data, around 94 million adults in Indonesia in 2019 could not access the internet on mobile devices.

“The digital gap is still a challenge. Even fewer people have access to fixed broadband internet. Connectivity issues like this require us at the Communications and Informatics Ministry to work harder in providing a stable and strong digital infrastructure,” he explained.

One of the efforts made by the government of the Republic of Indonesia is building telecommunications infrastructure on a large scale. “In the form of fiber optic cables on land and under the sea, several high-throughput satellites, and thousands of Base Transceiver Station,” he explained.

According to Minister Johnny, this condition was one of the reasons why the G20 DEWG Forum discussed efforts to bridge the digital gap through more solid collaboration to encourage the massive construction of digital infrastructure between G20 countries and the rest of the world.

“Recognizing this background, access to digital connectivity remains an important task. This is why the Digital Economy Working Group seeks to promote the massive construction of digital infrastructure between G20 countries and the rest of the world,” he explained.

The communications and Informatics Minister believes that the G20 DEWG Forum will be able to promote priority initiatives to encourage more advanced and efficient technology and provide funds for digital infrastructure development. “As we continue this discussion, we must pay attention to implementing an inclusive and secure digital connectivity infrastructure for our environment on terrestrial and in space,” he said.

According to Minister Johnny, the discussion on connectivity has become increasingly relevant following the global economic turmoil that affected food and commodity supplies and energy availability, causing the inflation rate to soar.

“It affects the purchasing power of the global community and the job market. Nevertheless, digital technology optimization raises hope because it allows us to navigate the digital economic landscape amid a crisis,” he said.

At the opening of the Second Session of the DEWG G20, Minister Johnny was accompanied by all high-ranking officials within the Ministry of Communication and Informatics. Meanwhile, the session was chaired directly by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Communications and Informatics and Chair of DEWG Mira Tayyiba. Also, the Special Staff of Communication and Informatics Minister’s Expert Staff for Digital Policy and Human Resources and Alternate Chair of DEWG Dedy Permadi. At the second session, 15 delegates from the G20 countries were present in Yogyakarta. They were from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, England, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the European Union. Meanwhile, delegates from five countries attended online, including Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa, and Russia. Invited delegates from Singapore and Cambodia, representatives of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were also present.

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