WBA is developing a Digital Inclusion Benchmark (DIB). This benchmark will assess and compare how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies are contributing to ensure that benefits from digital technologies are broadly enjoyed, given that these technologies are considered as cross-cutting tools for the achievement of all SDGs.
Why a Digital Inclusion Benchmark?
The ICT sector was identified by multiple key stakeholders who took part in WBA’s consultation phase among the most influential for achieving SDGs worldwide. From mobile money applications that are giving the poor and unbanked much needed access to financial resources to bring themselves out of poverty (Goal 1: No Poverty), to Internet and Web applications that are helping people globally connect and cooperate (Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals), ICTs have much potential to accelerate the 2030 Agenda.
To unleash this potential, the barriers excluding billions of people from accessing and productively harnessing ICTs will need to be torn down. ICT companies need to play a significant role for this to happen. This corporate benchmarking exercise aims to highlight industries and companies that are currently leading the way in fostering digital inclusion, to hold laggards to account, and to trigger a “race to the top” across the ICT sector.
The Digital Inclusion Benchmark will measure companies’ contribution to digital inclusion on four dimensions: access, use, skills and innovation. The benchmark will track the most globally significant companies operating on different layers of the ICT ecosystem. The benchmark scope will include electronic device and equipment manufacturers, telecommunication network operators, and content, platform and application providers.
The DIB is currently in its initial phases of development where the framework and scope are being defined. A scoping report has been published in March 2018 and is available for comment. Through 2019, the methodology for the benchmark, including its component indicators and weighting strategy, will be developed, reviewed, and published.
The DIB will be developed by a core team at WBA, in collaboration with a broad group of external stakeholders. These include thought leaders in the field as well as an Expert Review Committee that is currently being assembled.
The Digital Inclusion Benchmark is developed in close collaboration with an Expert Review Committee (ERC), which members support the core team with their expertise and experience. Members of the ERC are:
- Dr. Alexandre Barbosa
Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br)
- Dr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh
- Gregory Francis
Managing Director, Access Partnership
- Dr. Tim Kelly
Lead Digital Development Policy Specialist, World Bank Group
- Dr. Michael Kende
Senior Advisor, Analysys Mason & World Bank
- Esperanza Magpantay
Senior Statistician, ICT Data and Statistics Division of the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Development Bureau
- Julie Owono
Executive Director, Internet Sans Frontières
- Claire Scharwatt
Director of Policy and Advocacy, GSMA
This scoping report outlines a rationale and conceptual framework for measuring company-level contributions to digital inclusion, reviews related benchmarking initiatives, identifies gaps, and proposes potential industries and companies to benchmark.
We welcome constructive and meaningful feedback to improve the benchmark’s methodology. For queries and comments, please feel free to contact the benchmark lead, Lourdes O. Montenegro.
As part of WBA’s open, transparent and consultative benchmark development process, a roundtable discussion was held last 7 March 2019 in Mumbai, India. It will be the first of a series of consultations to introduce the benchmark and gain feedback from different stakeholders, including civil society organizations, government, and ICT companies. You may download the roundtable report here.
On 11 April 2019, WBA hosted a thematic workshop to introduce and discuss the benchmark during the annual World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum to be held at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland.