The Digital Revolution: Fostering Inclusion and Resilient Growth

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The Digital Revolution: Fostering Inclusion and Resilient Growth

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Use the timestamps to browse the event replay

00:00 Welcome! WBG Spring Meetings 2022 | The Digital Revolution
03:40 Data in focus: Digital divide and the impact on businesses
05:16 Addressing the divides and opening digital opportunities
25:48 The progress in Rwanda’s digital journey
47:29 Data in focus: Digital divide and essential services
49:12 How governments are using digital technologies for services
1:05:20 Social media conversation and poll results
1:08:02 Live Q&A: Digital revolution for an inclusive growth
1:19:54 Digital health pass in Cabo Verde
1:22:00 Closure | Thanks for watching the WBG Spring Meetings 2022

Welcome viewers around the world.

We're glad you could join us for the World Bank Group IMF Spring Meetings.

And for this event, the Digital Revolution, Fostering Inclusion and Resilient Growth.

I'm Lana Wong. And I'm coming to you live

from the World Bank Group's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Two years after the onset of COVID-19,

it is clear that some things are here to stay.

In addition to its tragic toll on lives and livelihoods

the pandemic has brought about deep changes in the way we all live,

the way that companies do business, how governments interact with citizens,

and how people communicate with each other.

New digital tools were deployed in record time

over the past two years, often for uses that we had never imagined.

They enabled the continuation of businesses and education,

allowed governments to provide services,

and accelerated the adoption of digital financial tools.

As digital technologies develop,

they are also expanding inclusion, reaching remote and vulnerable populations

and helping to strengthen resilience to future crises.

Digital innovation is driving economic transformation

by accelerating connectivity, access to finance and job creation.

These are all important engines of growth,

and in times of enormous economic shocks, they are even more relevant.

But despite an increase of digital usage during the pandemic,

nearly half of the global population is still unconnected.

And at the same time,

we need to mitigate the risks related to data privacy and cyber security.

Over the next 90 minutes, we're bringing together a select group of experts

to discuss these important issues.

Let's take a quick look at what we have lined up for you.

Quite the line up.

There are lots of ways for you to participate in this event.

It's being streamed in English, French,

Spanish and Arabic at

That's also where our experts are answering your questions in the live chat.

Here are a few of them already hard at work.

Share ideas on the potential of technology

to transform economies for the better using #PowerOfDigital

You can follow and watch this event

on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

And before we launch into our first discussion,

let's take a closer look at the digital divide.

The number of people with access to the Internet

increased during the pandemic, but that access is not equal.

Data shows how the digital divide

is actually becoming wider as a result of COVID-19.

Let's take a look at the impact on businesses.

The World Bank surveyed just under 25,000 firms

operating in 38 countries to see how they were being affected by the pandemic.

It showed that firms of all sizes

were seeking digital solutions for their operations

but there were wide gaps in firms' ability to deploy technology.

Let's look at how the investment varies by size of firm.

Micro and small firms reported increased investment in digital technology,

15% and 25% respectively.

But the share of medium and large firms

reporting increased investment in digital technology

was quite a bit higher: 34 and 45%, respectively.

The digital divide is also present in other ways.

Worldwide, 76% of people living in cities use the Internet,

compared to just 39% of people in rural areas.

While 90% of people in developed countries use the Internet,

the figure for developing countries was just 57%.

And in the least developed countries it is just 27%.

And the gender divide is widest in the least developed countries.

31% of men report using the Internet, but just 19% of women.

This compares with gender parity in Internet usage

in the developed countries.

How can we address these divides

and open digital opportunities for more small firms,

more women, and more people living in rural areas?

That's the question for our next two guests,

who have blazed a trail for digital development

that drives economic transformation:

Omobola Johnson and Michael Miebach.

Dr. Johnson is the former Minister of Communication Technology of Nigeria,

a current member of the Alliance for Affordable Internet,

and a private equity investor.

Mr. Miebach is the CEO of Mastercard.

So welcome to you both.

I'm thrilled that we have you here with us today

and I'm really looking forward to a great conversation.

So, Omobola, let's start with you.

Nigeria has come a long way in terms of expanding Internet connectivity,

but there continues to be a persistent gap between the urban and rural populations.

How can Nigeria and other countries facing similar challenges

help to expand Internet access for all?

Thank you very much, Lana.

And you're absolutely right.

Nigeria has made tremendous progress in terms of expanding connectivity.

Today, 2G coverage is 90%, 3G coverage is 80% of the country and 4G is 70%.

But as you say, the gaps, whether it's 10%, 20% or 30%, those gaps are in the rural areas.

And that's where the challenge is, really get those rural areas connected.

But I think what I would like to say is,

to borrow from a term that the Alliance for Affordable Internet uses.

And that is a term that is called meaningful connectivity.

And that's what we need to be worrying about, not just connecting the rural areas,

but ensuring that that connectivity is meaningful.

And that means a fast connection, at least 4GB, 4G sort of speed.

It means ownership of devices.

It means having daily access to the Internet

for work, for business, for sociable communication,

and finally it means you have enough data, and you can afford that data.

Now to your point around what regulations can be put in place in Nigeria

to ensure that everybody has meaningful connectivity.

I think there are a number of them, and some of them really,

to be fair to Nigeria,

we are actually doing some of those things already.

Firstly, faster connection, encouraging collaborations

between the community networks and the national networks,

where the community networks can build towers

based on subsidies given by the Universal Service Provision Fund.

And the national networks can expand their spectrum,

expand their ranges, expand their connectivity

to those community networks and share revenues based on that.

The second thing that we need to do is around smartphone ownership.

And that is really, first of all, reducing the taxes

because we import most of the phones that come into this country,

reducing the taxes and the duties that are placed on those smartphones,

and also actually supporting or encouraging the manufacturing of devices locally,

because that takes all the taxes, takes all the customs duties,

and really making those smartphones more affordable for the average Nigerian.

I think the third thing that we need to do is affordability,

and that's just the daily absence of meaningful connectivity.

If it's affordable,

people can get on when they want, for as long as they want

and how they want to.

So making it more cost effective,

roll out considerations, the right of way, all those kind of charges

that are placed on telecoms companies as they roll out the networks.

And also things like data bundles are very important,

zero rating for some of the very important content that we have on the Internet,

and data bundles that allow you to actually provide the services cheaper.

And finally, enough data, having enough spectrum that is affordable,

enough spectrum that will enable us to roll out the data requirements

because literally as soon as the data is rolled out, it's all gobbled up.

But having spectrum available

for the telecommunications company, but having it available at a cost

that is not as exorbitant as it is now.

We just completed our 5G options in Nigeria.

We raised about, Nigeria is about half a billion dollars.

And I would put it to the government that if we just saved

a small fraction of those dollars and instead of having spectrum expenses,

making sure that we reduce the cost of spectrum,

but then give the national communication companies

roll out obligations for getting that spectrum,

forcing them to roll out into those rural areas,

as opposed to them doing it at their pace

at their time, by partnering with the community networks.

That's great. Thank you.

I think your point about meaningful connectivity

and also affordability is critical.

So that also really brings us down to making it meaningful for the consumers.

So let me turn to Michael on that topic.

Michael, how can the private sector help bring the innovation and expertise

needed to support financial health and prosperity?

I think financial prosperity needs to be the goal that we keep in mind.

We were clear as a private sector player

that it starts with access to that digital economy.

It actually starts with everything Omobola just said.

You got to have fundamental access to become online.

But then building from there on, what is your access to the digital economy?

It was actually here at the World Bank stage

seven years ago that we took a leap of faith

and we said, well, with 5 billion people not being part of the digital economy

we have to do our part as a private sector player.

And we committed to put half a billion people,

500 million people into the digital economy.

Fast forwarding into COVID.

That was just about the time in 2020

that we had actually delivered against that goal.

And building on what Omobola just said, government does its piece,

but the private sector comes in and uses the infrastructure, uses the access,

uses the spectrum that you just talked about

to deliver financial services access

and then start to build towards prosperity.

How do we do that?

What are some of the learnings?

Some of the learnings are that across the private sector you need partnerships.

I'll give you an example, to bring all of this to life.

What does financial prosperity mean with a model at scale?

Let's go to Egypt.

I worked in the Middle East for a long time.

One of the largest industries in Egypt is the garment industry,

it employs one and a half million workers.

Salaries have been given in brown bags.

Today they're coming on a digital wage account.

A digital wage account leaves a data trail

that allows you to get better access to credit,

which will smoothen out purchases

you want to do as a family, as an individual, as a small business.

And then the virtual circle closes.

This is in partnership with Levi's, with a local set of local banks in Egypt.

That is a private sector government model at scale,

because the garment industry obviously matters in other countries as well,

for example, Bangladesh.

Now we've doubled down.

We took all of those learnings and we said,

well, there are still over 2 billion people

that are not in the formal financial system,

that are not in the digital economy.

What else can we do? We double down, we up the goal to 1 billion.

So I hope to be back on your stage at some point in time.

Instead, we achieve that as well.

And here are the learnings.

But the private sector is critical

because the private sector does look for commercially sustainable models.

We cannot rely on grants.

The private sector will look.

Does this make sense?

Does it pull other players into the ecosystem at Telco, for example,

to provide financial services into rural areas

without commercial sustainability?

It's not going to happen.

The private sector will look for economies of scale,

to make it commercially sustainable.

The private sector will drive for innovation

leverage technology and competition, and all of that is needed.

And that's why I think we are playing a critical role.

We want to be a role model.


Well, no, that's why these partnerships,

public, private, government, philanthropic, they are critical.

So thank you for that.

But that does bring us to jobs, job creation.

So let's talk about job creation.

We know it's not only unemployment that needs to be tackled,

but underemployment,

which disproportionately affects women.

So how can we ensure that women

and marginalized populations are included in this new digital economy?


Thanks Lana,

I think, first of all,

to talk about the structure of an emerging economy that is going digital.

If I give the example of Nigeria, which is a proxy for most African economies

where most of the jobs are created by smaller micro businesses.

In Nigeria, for example,

40% of the GDP is contributed by small and medium businesses,

90% of businesses are micro, small and medium,

and 84% of jobs are in these small and medium businesses.

So to unlock this sort of job creation,

whether it's women or men, and I'll speak about women in a minute,

to unlock the capacity for job creation in any economy or any merchant economy,

you've got to figure out how do I scale these micro and small businesses?

These are businesses that are, there is tremendous fragmentation.

As I said, in Nigeria,

we have 20 million of them, employing less than 10 million people.

They're fragmented. They're small.

They are ignored because you just can't serve them

because they just don't have the capacity for scale.

And so being able to unlock what is in those estimates is important.

And the way that we're seeing that, and I speak as a bench capital investor now,

is around companies that are serving those small businesses.

They're the companies that we call the "B-to-small-B",

not "B-to-B" to "B-to-small-B".

And these are companies that are aggregating

the demand of small-scale businesses

and using technology

to provide services to meet that demand and allow them to scale and to grow.

And to explain this better,

to illustrate this point better, let me speak about Trigger.

One of our portfolio companies.

Trigger is a company in Nairobi that serves what we call tabletop entrepreneurs

small-scale retailers, the way that Africans shop for food.

We don't go to hypermarkets or the Tescos or Sainsburys of this world.

We shop in small corner shops, tabletop entrepreneurs,

people that put their wares by the roadside.

This is how we shop.

And Trigger is addressing...

And these are all entrepreneurs.

They're all small-scale entrepreneurs.

Trigger has served over 130,000 of these small-scale entrepreneurs.

And how do they do that?

They are able to deliver fresh produce and dry goods

to those 130,000 entrepreneurs across Kenya

simply by them ordering by a mobile app.

So they place their orders for bananas, oil, whatever it is.

The produce is delivered to them, as opposed to them going to the market.

Secondly, they pay, of course, everyone knows about M-Pesa.

So let's just say mobile money.

They pay with mobile money.

With those payments in mobile money

and payment for the goods in mobile money, and also selling the goods with mobile money,

there is now digital transparency.

So there's transparency on their cash flows.

We know how much they buy. We know how much they sell.

Trigger is then able to offer working capital

to these sort of informal retailers because they understand how their money flows

and they know that they can actually develop a credit score based on that

based on the flow of capital, flow of money in these businesses.

Now, the point about saying all this, most of these tabletop entrepreneurs,

most of these retail, small-scale entrepreneurs are women,

and they have been largely excluded from this digital economy.

But this is one way of including them by allowing them to buy their produce online,

accept payments and make payments online,

and offer them much needed capital online as well,

to be able to scale and grow their businesses.

There are many more examples like this.

If I could just have a minute to give another example

of another portfolio company, which is Pula.

Pula offers insurance to small-scale farmers, basically reducing their vulnerability

by allowing them to buy insurance, then if their crops fail,

if their crops fail they get an insurance payout.

These are millions of farmers.

No major insurance company wants to deal with one farmer

that is producing 2 ha of maize.

But Pula aggregates all these farmers,

does all the actual calculations and puts them in front of insurance companies,

and they can then insure them and reduce their vulnerability.

Again, Lana, half the entrepreneurs, small-scale farmers are women

in this part of the world,

in Africa and specifically in Nigeria.

So these are the ways, it's really around private capital

to Michael's point, private capital really providing capital

to companies that are looking to serve these small-scale entrepreneurs

where most of our jobs are created and most people work in Africa,

and Nigeria in particular.

That's great. Thank you Omobola.

I actually lived in Kenya,

in Nairobi for five years, and spent a lot of time working in Mathare.

So I do know the kind of trajectory

of the whole M-Pesa success on the digital economy.

So let's hope that we can just keep that moving forward.

But let's turn to Michael now related to all of that, I guess, of course,

COVID has shown us with increased urgency the need to tackle this digital divide.

So what are some concrete actionable ways to narrow that divide?

What do you think are the greatest threats that we need to address?

So since we're all exchanging our street cred on how we're involved with the continent

for example, I've been involved with Africa for ten years,

in Kenya, in Nigeria and other places,

and the inequalities that COVID highlighted, they were there all along.

COVID put a stark light on them and accelerated some of them.

I think that is what's happening.

To turn this into a positive,

this is a golden opportunity for us

to take those learnings and make sure that all the goodness that comes out

of a race towards a more digital life is actually taken.

But we avoid some of the downsides to your questions or threats.

The digital divide is a reality.

So what do we do?

What do we do to avoid that?

People who are in the digital economy, who are the digital haves,

have a whole set of better choices than the digital have nots.

I mean, that is just not how the world can work.

If everybody's in, that will be good for us,

and then if not everybody is in, that will not be good of us.

Now be very practical.

Everything I just said, there might not be an answer,

but fortunately there are answers because we have been working on it.

And to look at this through four dimensions, really,

starting off with technology.

We're a tech company and I believe in technology

and I believe in technology

being something good that can actually help address some of these issues.

The examples that Omobola just talked about, Trigger, for example, Pula.

Those are technological solutions that are provided by fintechs

that are out there today in our industry.

And the creativity of all these engineers

can be helped with if a company like us

provides a base for them to unfold all of their creativity.

Meaning we have digital tools that matter for everybody.

For example, cybersecurity tools.

How does the small business actually get online

and can compete in that kind of a market?

Yes, it's that one app.

But how do you actually get online?

How do you build a website?

How is this all very straightforward?

Once you're online, how do you find new customers?

How do you keep your business safe?

Because there's cybersecurity threats out there.

So there's a whole range of standard solutions

that we provide to the world of the Triggers and the Pulas

and other people around there, and other players in our industry do the same.

If I look across the board,

there's a PayPal, there's other people who focus on enabling the ecosystem,

so the ecosystem can help all of those small businesses,

which make up 90% of all businesses around the world.

So that's point number one on technology.

Point number two is, I think it is important that more companies

come to the conclusion

that I just put up as such an easy statement:

If everybody thrives, then we all thrive.

If that is not a realization in the private sector,

then that's problematic.

With the focus of the investor base

to say we will invest and put our money into companies

that actually value ESG,

that are putting out reporting on ESG and all of that.

I think that mindset needs to be propagated and more companies need to do that,

and we will want to continue to be a role model.

So technology, mindset, focus on sustainability.

Inclusive growth is important.

The third dimension that I think is important here

is back to partnerships.

This issue of the digital divide is so big, nobody can solve this by themselves.

Government cannot.

Private sector cannot. NGOs cannot.

But across the board we can.

The Egypt example that I gave is one that cuts across the board.

And these public-private partnerships are important.

That's an important element of the whole mix.

The last one is, it comes to your question of threats.

There is a starting point of eyeing technology with some skepticism.

Where is my data?

Is my data safe?

Where is my money?

Is my money safe?

If I have it under the mattress, I can see it.

I can feel it.

If it's somewhere in an app, I'm not quite sure.

So we need to deal with this trust deficit.

We need to really focus on creating digital trust.

And this is done in a few ways, making sure that from a cybersecurity side,

things are clear and things are safe.

There's a lot of technology to do that today,

and it doesn't have to be cumbersome biometrical security.

There's all sorts of things that can be put to play,

but I think that mindset of realizing that people are skeptical

and you have to address it from the outset so that you can leverage technology

because people trust it, I think it's important.

The second aspect is around data.

So the digital haves are the people that can put their data, their own data,

to their own good to get better choices and better services.

So people will only do that if they know that their data is treated safely.

So data principles as simple as my data is good for my own use

and I should benefit from it, and the industry, my government,

Mastercard, Trigger, somebody,

will make sure that it's always safe.

We put out these data principles

and say that is something that everybody should subscribe to.

We invited other private sector players

to say keeping data safe and in focus is important.

Across these four dimensions: tech, ESG mindset, partnerships and trust.

If we pull that off, that's pretty concrete.

It's not easy to do,

but I think we have enough learning of being on this journey

for the last ten years

that we can pull this off, and now is the golden moment,

with this race towards a more digital life. We should do it now.

We couldn't agree more.

Thank you so much, Omobola and Michael,

thank you so much for telling us

how we can accelerate this digital revolution to include everyone.

Hello, I'm Shegufta Shariar in Dhaka, Bangladesh,

and you are watching World Bank Group IMF Spring Meetings.

[Lana Wong] What an engaging discussion.

Technology can really magnify the impact of economic reforms,

and both the private and the public sectors

have a role to play.

We heard how companies drive

the innovation needed to close access gaps,

while well-crafted policies and regulatory frameworks

must be in place for that to happen.

If you're just joining us, I'm Lana Wong.

You're watching the Spring Meetings events

on the Digital Revolution, Fostering Inclusion and Resilient Growth.

In a moment, we'll hear from the President of the Bank Group, David Malpass,

in conversation with Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President.

But before that, a reminder that you can join the conversation

on today's event at any time using #PowerOfDigital.

We're also inviting you to take part in a special poll.

We want to know which digital transformation

you think is the most critical

to accelerate resilient and inclusive growth.

Option A is E-government and digital IDs.

If you think fintech and digital payments are the priority, it's option B.

Or is it C? Digital infrastructure and Internet access.

And your last option is D, EdTech and digital skills.

So which of these digital transformations is most critical

to accelerate resilient and inclusive growth?

You can cast your vote right now at,

and we'll bring you the results at the end of this event.

We're going to hear now about the progress

in Rwanda's digital journey.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame,

joins the World Bank Group President, David Malpass,

to share his insights on digital transformation.

Over to you, David.

[David Malpass] Hello to everyone.

I want to welcome President Kagame of Rwanda.

He's joining us from Kigali.

Digitalization is a critical part of development,

and it's also an important part of our Spring Meetings this year.

So I'm very pleased to have President Kagame.

Rwanda's been in the advance of pushing digital technologies

both in Rwanda and in the region.

It's a way to enhance people's lives to increase connectivity.

And I want to welcome President Kagame to our meeting today.


[Paul Kagame] President Malpass, thank you very much.

Much appreciated.

First of all, David,

I'm happy to be here with you for this conversation.

[David Malpass] Let's start off.

We know that it's important for people around Rwanda.

You've managed to expand the broadband coverage,

the digital services coverage.

What do you view as key steps that made it possible in Rwanda?

Was it infrastructure, the building of infrastructure?

Was it the regulatory authorities that were improved?

What are the key steps?

And then I'm going to ask the same for other countries in Africa.

Any advice that you want to give to countries

that are pushing forward with their digitalization?

Over to you.

[Paul Kagame] Thank you. I respond to that in general terms,

covering the broader question you've asked.

Over the years, Africa's digital transformation

has been driven...

in particular, by mobile financial services.

Africa is in many ways a global pioneer in this sector.

80% of Africa's population has a mobile phone,

but not everyone has access to high speed Internet on a smartphone.

Yet broadband is the key to unlocking the digital transformation.

On our continent, the immediate challenge continues to be

the insufficient reach of fiber optic cables in rural areas.

So if we address this, it means that the majority of Africa's population

does not have access to high speed Internet,

as you rightly mentioned,

and, therefore, these are key areas to focus on in dealing with the matter.

In Rwanda, we have made a significant investment

in broadband infrastructure.

We have been able to reach over 95% broadband coverage.

If you look at

our country's health sector, for example,

most of the facilities in Rwanda are connected to the Internet.

Just to give that example.

I should add that, therefore, our partnership with the World Bank

has helped us to tackle digital barriers.

And I wanted to take this opportunity

to appreciate you, President Malpass, and the World Bank,

for having been of great help in this.

[David Malpass] Thank you very much for that.

We want to push forward with that in your neighbors

and in Africa as a whole.

I was very interested, as you described,

the financial transactions and the payment systems

as being the backbone.

We find in many countries that people are eager to use

and to make digital transactions.

It's a way of having a very inexpensive form of services,

payment for services and for goods.

So, can I drill down on that a little bit?

The Rwandan franc is unique to Rwanda.


How do you envision the importance of cross-border payments?

If someone drives a truck across a border,

they're not able to use the same digital payment system.

Do you think that will evolve

and is it important that there be a single currency

or how will that evolve do you think?

[Paul Kagame] It will evolve...

There has been effort across the region

during the integration process of a region.

For example, if you take the East African community,

there has been harmonization of a number of things,

including looking at, therefore, how that can be solved

to the point that from one place to another,

it's like moving within a country in itself.

So the East African community has more or less come closer together,

in the sense that it becomes one big country

that brings the number of countries

that are part of a state together.

So I think that we are underway, it's being discussed.

It's looking at how we can even have monetary union,

under that, therefore,

different harmonization activities and services will be undertaken

to ease on the movement, and, therefore, the currencies

and the payment within the payment system as it is.

[David Malpass] I imagine

that as there's more and more trade across borders,

among the East African countries, that will also draw along the idea

of transactions that are accepted in the various countries.

Mr. President, as you think about the challenges within Rwanda,

around the world, privacy is one of the issues that people consider.

How do people store data safely?

How do they avoid surveillance of their own data?

I wonder your thoughts on that

and also this challenge around the world

of having all information available to people.

There are some countries that are really closing the Internet

to certain flows of information.

What do you think about those issues?

[Paul Kagame] Well, first of all, one has to be aware of the risks involved

with these new technologies,

and, therefore, people have to take steps to make sure that the risks are mitigated,

but at the same time, harness the productivity and efficiencies,

and all the values entailed in these new technologies.

And, therefore, people have to think about safety in all forms, indeed,

and being aware of the risks, of course.

So within our own system, for example, in Rwanda,

we officially launched recently in Kigari,

the first Centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa

in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

This helps us to have a full grasp of the issues,

and, therefore, maximize on the benefits and also minimize on the risks

as well as any in-between allowing for the freedoms

to do with the management of data,

and allowing people to freely reap benefits from that.

I think it will be built on how people come together to discuss this,

put necessary laws in place,

not only just nationally, but rather regionally,

and also learning from the best practices across the globe.

It's not an easy thing, but I think it is doable.

It has just to be driven by the right politics as well,

so that people understand the benefits.

This is to people,

but also allow freedoms to prevail within,

but at the same time, manage these risks involved.

For example...

Let me give an example, last year,

Rwanda adopted a personal data protection and privacy law,

and the Centre played an instrumental role in its development.

So there are these laws that are being developed

to make sure that data protection is of essence,

and it will also allow...

fostering of trust...

which will, in turn, promote innovation and facilitate cross-border data flows.

[David Malpass] Do you have advice for other parts of Africa

on things that you would urge them to do?

And it can be with your neighbors as well, with Kenya.

Do you have good connection and can it be expanded?

How do you see that working?

And what advice do you have for anyone at large, including me?

[Paul Kagame] The more we expand

countries getting together,

the benefit of that

it's not just the big market that we are interested in,

which is, of course, extremely important,

but it's also how we can learn from each other.

We can benefit each other.

We can work together to address these challenges.

Again, learning from the best practices that are out there.

And all that is necessary is to be frank with each other.

We tell people...

We discuss the importance of governance,

the importance of

putting people's interests here at the heart of what we are doing,

and whether it is Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda,

Tanzania, Burundi, DRC I mentioned,

we want to make sure that the strength we have,


The resources that are in abundance benefit our citizens.

However, this potential will always be realized

if there is adequate funding

from investors and international financial institutions,

particularly for RSA ventures, because most of the...

efforts we see by small medium enterprises

and there is always lack of funding

for them to be able to accelerate what they are doing.

So it's a...

It's a cross section of things that we have to be looking at.

It's governance,

it's connectivity, it's funding, it's...

It's making sure that this market reaches

its full potential in what it can do for the people of our countries.

[David Malpass] I was pleased to read about the summit,

the meetings that you had in early April in Nairobi,

and the connection to Democratic Republic of Congo

is going to be important because of the size of that market.

So, the progress you're making, I think is very important.

I'll ask two questions.

Are there applications

that you yourself like, that you see emerging in Rwanda?

How do you use the Internet yourself in your daily activities?

[Paul Kagame] Well, we've been learning a lot,

a lot, at least recently, during COVID.

There are so many technologies,

applications that help connect people

with whatever they want, wherever it is.

And that's how people even embraced

working from home and

education delivered to homes as well,

because kids are not able to go to school,

health services benefiting from all these kinds of applications.

And for me personally,

the most important thing is not only to be... work together,

but also to deliver information that is required

or provision of that whenever you need it,

so that life becomes as normal as possible,

even with the absence of what we have been used to

in day-to-day work.

So, I use a lot...

We are on social media,

We have...

We use emails, we use virtual technologies to...

To just get what you want to obtain

and also do as much work as you can.

From any place you reach,

whatever you want and wherever you want it.

So that's what I can say.

And of course, it has provided

our young people, who are innovative,

this possibility to go out

and address these problems that the society is facing

and also off of that make money and... able to do a number of things.

I think we can't complain,

but rather just be prepared for the next challenge.

[David Malpass] That's exactly right.

And we see different uses in different countries,

which is, of course, the huge benefit of digitalization.

I'll mention, the World Bank works through—

In the private sector through the International Finance Corporation, IFC.

We've been active in Rwanda and in neighboring countries through IFC

and helping small and medium sized businesses have more access to funding

and also to innovation platforms,

which has been so important

in pushing along the windows of digitalization.

Also, government services

are increasingly provided through the Internet,

and that provides one more platform

or support for the investments that are needed.

So, my sense is there are now so many services

being provided across the Internet

that it pays for the investments that countries are making.

So, we find that regulatory advances are one of the critical enabling steps

for countries as they consider the Internet.

But I think some of the biggest advances can be in physical trade across borders

and in digital trade across borders and payment systems.

Can you describe the physical trade that's going on

and whether digitalization is going to help it advance?

[Paul Kagame] I think there's no conflict really,

between the physical aspects of that trade

and the digital aspects,

but rather there is complementarity.

And the more we digitize these processes,

we find that things work more efficiently.

Like, for example,

in some parts of our borders with our neighbors,

we have created one clearing house

where officials on one side of the border

and on the other side, the opposite side, are in one place.

And what is to be expected is very clear.

Things come in and whatever information that is required

is delivered on spot

and the people move with ease as long as they just

make sure that what was expected of them has been done

and that is cross checked on spot and using technology,

and people and businesses and services move very fast.

So it's not either or, but rather for me,

it's how the two can interact and work together

as fast as possible.

We are not going to have purely one process,

and purely the other.

It's how we can fuse,

bring together the two and be able to move on.

I think we are beginning to see

development in this area and good progress.

[David Malpass] That is very powerful, very well stated.

It brings people together and they don't have to be the same.

They just have to be able to interconnect.

And earlier in the conversation,

you made the point that people are able to make money from this as well,

which, of course, is one of the driving forces

behind digitalization.

It really increases productivity

and money-making capacity and entrepreneurism,

which are also important to growth.

President Kagame, I want to thank you very warmly

for the conversation this morning.

It's been enlightening,

and I really appreciate your joining us and good luck in all of your pursuits.

Thank you.

[Paul Kagame] Thank you, President Malpass.

Thank you for your invitation, but above all, I want to thank you,

I can't do it enough.

And the World Bank for the very strong and beneficial partnership

that has enabled us to invest in this critical infrastructure

and skills that we need for continued digitalization

and the development of skills within our people

so that in the end everyone will have what to do and benefit from,

and that's what we want to be driven to achieve.

Thank you so much.

[David Malpass] We welcome that partnership

and look forward to working with you every day and into the future.

Thank you, sir.

[Soft Music] [KAMPALA, UGANDA] [Esther] I am [inaudible] Esther in Uganda.

I am Ampumuza Esther in Uganda

And you are watching the World Bank Group IMF Spring meet.

and you are watching the World Bank Group IMF Spring Meetings.

[Lana Wong] Thank you both for that very interesting discussion.

It is really inspiring to hear how despite all challenges

Rwanda is making progress in increasing broadband connectivity

and expanding digital inclusion.

Now, let's take a closer look at some more data on the digital divide

and the provision of essential services.

[Lana Wong] As we've heard,

digital technologies can supercharge inclusive growth

and bridge divides that were insurmountable

with brick and mortar development solutions.

Yet 3 billion people are offline,

96% of them in developing countries.

For vulnerable populations, connection equals resilience.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, about 60 developing countries

leveraged digital payments to deliver social assistance programs.

Countries that use digital identification and databases for government payments

reached 39% more beneficiaries than those who did not.

Digitalization of essential services

also extended opportunities for health and education during lockdowns.

Remote education kept students learning,

with school closures affecting more than 1.6 billion worldwide.

The global E-learning market,

worth 250 billion in 2020,

is expected to grow at more than 21% per year.

And telemedicine connected many with essential care.

Some analysts forecast the telemedicine industry

will now grow by over 19% a year by mid-decade.

In the post-Covid world,

new skills will be required to seize on this digital transformation.

87% of companies worldwide

say that they have a skills gap now or will in the next five years.

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone,

more than 230 million jobs will require digital skills by 2030.

[Lana Wong] How can we ensure that digital solutions

provide services to the poor,

improve E-Government efficiency and build digital skills?

Let's hear how governments are using digital technologies

to advance the delivery of crucial services.

For this conversation, I'm joined by Dr. Ghita Mezzour,

who is the Minister of Digital Transformation in Morocco.

Enkh-Amgalan Luvsantseren is the Minister of Education and Science in Mongolia.

And lastly, Carme Artigas is the Secretary of State

for Digital Utilization and Artificial Intelligence in Spain.

Due to some technical issues with the audio connection to Mongolia,

we'll be running subtitles to ensure you can understand the Minister's comments.

[Lana Wong] Thank you all for joining us today and

I'm excited for our conversation.

So let me start with Minister Mezzour.

Today about 23% of public services are fully digitized in Morocco.

But I understand that the ambition is to increase that to a full 100%.

That's really ambitious.

How do you plan to achieve that goal

and what difference will it make for the people of Morocco?

[Ghita Mezzour] The new model for development of Morocco insists on digitizing public services

so that citizens can access public services in a way that's easy, transparent,

and they don't have to physically go to administrations.

The goal is to have trustworthy relationship

between citizens and the administration in general.

So our Ministry works closely with various administrations

giving them day-to-day hands-on support

on how to devise their digital vision,

on how to simplify processes,

on how to succeed in a digital transition that's citizen centric.

Great. Thank you, Minister.

It's really great to hear about the progress Morocco is making,

but let's now turn to Mongolia.

Minister Luvsantseren, how is Mongolia also using digital technology

to improve delivery of public services?

[Enkh-Amgalan Luvsantseren] First of all, thank you for the invitation.

I appreciate being a part of this meaningful meeting and discussion.

So then since 2019,

we have all faced unexpected situations

that we have not encountered before.

The COVID-19 pandemic did create a lot of challenges,

but at the same time it created a lot of opportunities.

And we established the new ministry

called the Ministry of Digital Development and Communication,

in 2021.

Then in 2020 the Mongolian government

set out its five-year mission to build a digital nation,

to focus on data and technology to facilitate innovation,

streamline the public services

and diversify Mongolia's mining basic economy.

So the government of Mongolia

launched the e-Mongolia platform

that provided the most in-demand government services in 2020.

According to the most current data in the country,

e-Mongolia has connected over 700 public services,

a large number of online services has brought about massive benefits

to Mongolia's people and businesses during the pandemic.

The pandemic has been a great opportunity to us

to shift to a more digital area than before.

[Lana Wong] Great. Thank you so much, Minister.

As you point out, COVID certainly did create quite an opportunity.

So we are at a pivotal moment for this digital revolution.

But with that, there are risks that come

with the expansion of digital technologies.

So Secretary Artigas is an expert in building trust in digital development.

Secretary Artigas,

as you know, while digital technologies grew exponentially during the pandemic

so did cyber attacks.

How can we protect citizens from the risks of this new digital world?

[Carme Artigas] Yes. First of all, thank you very much for the invitation

of the World Bank Group to this fantastic event.

Yes, I was really pointing out for explaining digital agenda,

it is a priority that this transformation is inclusive and socially transformative.

Because we firmly believe that the digitalization process

can only be successful if it's able to improve social welfare,

especially for those who need it most.

And this is why we consider that all digital agenda in Spain

must put technology at the service of people

and ensure that no-one is left behind.

We believe that technology can act really as a barrier against inequality.

And we are at a time of unprecedented change

in which we have the opportunity to lay the foundations for a digital society

that must be fairer and more resilient to economic cycles.

Of course, there are a lot of risks associated with extreme growth

of the digital, I would say, landscape.

But we should solve that not only with awareness,

but especially with training, with the promotion of digital skills.

And this is why we are implementing

a national plan for digital skills, that is our pillar for the digitalization strategy,

beyond, of course, access to broadband,

because fortunately,

Spain is the leader in European countries

in deployment of broadband.

So we have a very good infrastructure,

but we need to build two more additional infrastructures.

And the next important additional infrastructure is infrastructure of talent

as well as infrastructure of innovation and entrepreneurship.

But we are all aware that we must generate trust,

generate a safe, reliable and accessible environment for all the population.

This is why we are having a pioneer project called the Charter of Digital Rights.

Spain wants to be at the forefront

in guaranteeing the right of citizens in the digital world, for example,

the right to equality or the right not to be discriminated by an algorithm.

So really the challenge is what we call human-centered technology,

or technology and humanism.

And we consider that to be really our own Spain's brand.

[Lana Wong] Thank you so much. Yes.

With the digital rights,

it's an important thing to make sure that it's safe and reliable.

And we are excited by the innovations that you are leading on.

So, Minister Mezzour, let's turn to you on this.

In Morocco,

you have large rural populations and high illiteracy rates in some regions.

So how is the government helping to boost digital literacy

to prepare these populations for the opportunities

and risks of digital development?

[Ghita Mezzour] So first, Morocco also has a good ICT infrastructure.

So the infrastructure and the coverage is one of the top three in Africa.

So that means a lot of areas are already covered by Internet.

That's good.

We're also still working on expanding the Internet coverage.

Also for schools, we have the GENIE program,

which equips schools with Internet and devices

and also trains students in ICT tools

so that they can teach their students.

We work in all of this because we fully believe that

the entire society needs to benefit and be part of this digital transition.

[Lana Wong] Great to hear that Morocco is helping to lead the way in really

accelerating that transition.

So let me turn back to Mongolia.

Minister, in Mongolia, you've really led the efforts

to boost digital literacy and expand public education services,

especially through the pandemic, through virtual learning.

Can you tell us more about the challenges you faced and the opportunities

that digital learning brings to the Mongolian people?

[Enkh-Amgalan Luvsantseren] So the COVID-19

pandemic continues to impose significant challenges

to global economies and governments,

and as a result humanity faces completely new ways of life,

and education and learning are different.

So the learning loss impacts

those children and young people are facing due to the pandemic

are immeasurable,

and now we have the challenging task

to overcome implications and to recover from the children's learning loss.

As a result of the pandemic, during the past two academic years,

almost 50% of students did not go to school,

they used remote and online resources

with students in Mongolia.

Therefore, to promote equal opportunities for children and youth,

and to recover their lost learning,

the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia

has been trying to transform education,

utilizing digital advances and innovations.

We all know that it works well.

Around 1 million people accessed their learning platform '',

developed during the pandemic,

indicating new forms of learning for children and youth.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia

has begun to develop classroom studios in schools,

which are located in remote areas to create e-content.

These Studios will enrich e-learning databases,

make full use of information technology and training,

and ensure lesson and readiness

in the case of emergency of force majeure.

[Lana Wong] Thank you so much.

It's critical that education, of course, can reach all.

So this whole issue of access as well as quality

sounds like that you are well aware and taking us forward in that realm.

Secretary Artigas, if you could take out your crystal ball

and look a bit into the future,

tell me about how you see the potential of big data and artificial intelligence

for advancing inclusive and resilient growth in developing countries.

[Carme Artigas] We believe that digitalization and sustainable growth

are two sides of the same coin.

So increased productivity and efficiency

are two elements on which developing countries

have the opportunity to build a more prosperous model

capable of generating wealth and wellbeing.

It is clear that all the advances in efficiency gains from big data and AI

are becoming essential to designing more sustainable and efficient production systems.

And also everything related with the circular economy and the green transition

must empowered by big data and AI.

It's estimated that 60% of potential productivity

comes from actions focused on task automation, for example,

and that artificial intelligence could also increase productivity up to 40%.

So for me, this process must go parallel

to the development of a new digital and green economy

and the necessary ecological transition we have in Spain.

The two leverages of our transformation and productive model

are digital transformation and green transition.

And I think that it is important international cooperation

and establishment of mechanisms for access to knowledge

and the creation of secure and interoperable data spaces.

AI requires data and it's important that we find a way

in which different countries can exchange data in a safe way.

And trustful way.

And also that, at a national level,

as we are doing in Europe, you build environments

in which you create industrial data spaces for open innovation and AI development.

But for me, there is an important premise

is that nobody should impose

which technologies or application developing countries should develop

because you also have the knowledge and expertise

and the talent that, if we devote the resources to grow that talent,

there is no possibility of a technology colonization.

So I think that an intelligent prospective digitalization for each country

should be based on technology and service of people.

[Lana Wong] Great. Thank you.

Thank you. Secretary Artigas.

So I have a final question for all of you.

In a kind of rapid round, I might turn to Minister Mezzour first.

If you were to ask one thing

from the World Bank Group to help expand digital usage,

what would it be?

[Ghita Mezzour] Well, you can ask for many things.

One of them is we have Internet,

but a lot of people don't have devices yet, so don't have 4G devices.

You can find a way to have people have access to devices.

So sharing this digital literacy program, do we have some of them?

If we can expand this, that would be awesome.

And also any expertise sharing from other countries

and how to succeed this on a hands-on way of expertise sharing.

We'd be very grateful for that.

[Lana Wong] Okay, fantastic.

Let's turn to Mongolia.

Minister Luvsantseren. What would you ask?

[Enkh-Amgalan Luvsantseren] I would like to ask the World Bank Group

to support expansion of high-speed Internet connection throughout the country,

as Mongolia is a very remote and geographically broad country.

Even though the pandemic restrictions are getting looser,

and we would like to continue to do virtual learning,

as we have faced significant learning loss,

in particular children in the countryside and remote areas,

those are majority affected by the pandemic

because of the lack of accessibility of online learning,

and need to overcome learning loss and accelerate learning.

Besides, the support of developing teachers' and students' digital literacy is crucial.

As we have experienced in this challenge in particular,

teachers need competitive skills

to access digital tools and produce digital content

to promote student learning.

[Lana Wong] Super. Thank you.

And I turn to you, Secretary Artigas.

[Carme Artigas] We would encourage the World Bank Group to support all the initiatives

to do with digital skills at any country

so that we can allow all the citizens in the world

to enjoy the advantages that technology may bring us.

But also I would love that they support the idea

that technology development cannot be...

It is not progress if it costs us a price.

And we cannot do this development at the price of losing in this process

the rights that we have acquired for centuries as citizens.

So we don't want to miss in the digital world those rights that we have in our current world.

So I would encourage that they support also corporative policies

in line with these principles and values,

with the digital rights also for the citizens in the digital world.

And that can be done also with private and public collaboration,

aligned with this objective to leave no one behind.

[Lana Wong] Thank you. I couldn't agree more

about not leaving anyone behind in this amazing digital revolution

that we find ourselves in.

So thank you all for your expertise and your experience

and for being with us here today.

I've really enjoyed this conversation and I thank you.

[Lana Wong] It's great to see how some countries

are turning a challenging moment

into an opportunity to advance digital inclusion.

I'm joined now by Sri Sridhar,

who's been following the conversation online and on social media.

Sri, what have people been saying?

[Srimathi Sridhar] Thanks, Lana, great to see you.

People are joining us from all over the world today,

including Rwanda,

Nigeria, France, India, Venezuela, Spain, Uganda, Mexico, and the United States.

And they're using today's event hashtag,

which is #PowerOfDigital, to join the conversation on our Twitter,

Facebook, LinkedIn, as well as Instagram channels.

But what are they talking about?

Well, about the need for better and more connectivity,

but also access to technology and digital skills,

especially in developing countries.

I want to take a moment now to give a shout out to some of the comments

that have been coming in on our social media channels.

We have Lucy from Rwanda on Twitter

who says that to achieve digital financial inclusion for all 1.3 people,

every African of age must have equal and affordable access to a digital account

and services that merit what it means to be truly included.

Next on LinkedIn, we have a comment from Zaradin Ahmed

who says that there is a wide gap to bridge relating to digital infrastructure

and internet access in the global South, particularly Africa.

And to round this out on Facebook, a comment from Jubaida Begumm who says

that digital transformation is one of the best techniques

to promote economic growth

and we should develop our skills so that we can properly use technology.

[Lana Wong] Right. It's great to hear all of those voices.

And I think now we can share the results of the poll

that we've been running throughout the event.

Yes. So let me remind everyone, today's poll asked

which digital transformation do you think is the most critical

to accelerate resilient and inclusive growth?

We have four options here.

Is it E-Government and digital IDs,

fintech and digital payments, digital infrastructure and Internet access

or is it D, EdTech and digital skills?

Now, Lana, before we get to the results, what would be your pick here?

Well, I'm an education person,

but I actually might go for E, all of the above.

Okay, I like that.

I am going for A, but why don't we see how people voted?

And just to know we had over 2400 people take part in today's poll.

But here are the results,

here 13% say it's e-government and digital IDs,

12% fintech and digital payments,

39% digital infrastructure and Internet access.

And finally, 35% EdTech and digital skills.

-So pretty close results here. -Great.

-Thank you so much, Sri. -Thanks, Lana.

I'm now joined here in the atrium of the World Bank Group by Doyle Gallegos,

Regional Program Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean

for the Digital Development Practice of the World Bank,

and Leila Search, Senior Investment Officer for Fintech Investments at IFC.

They'll be answering some of the questions you've been asking in just a moment.

But first, let's recap some of the main points we've heard from our speakers

on how we can ensure a digital revolution that supports truly inclusive growth.

Digital technologies offer an unprecedented opportunity

to transform developing economies,

enabling long-term growth and prosperity.

Digital innovation is revolutionizing government,

health, education, business, finance and jobs.

Yet too many people in developing countries remain unconnected or unable

to reap the benefits of digital transformation.

We need a collective commitment

from the public and private sectors to close connectivity and usage gaps

and build the foundations of a thriving, equitable digital economy for all,

especially in times of economic shocks and upheaval.

So now let's turn to our Q&A with our panel.

You've been posting questions and voting on your favorites online.

And Leila and Doyle are here today to answer some of the most popular.

First, let's hear from Lukman Yusuf from Nigeria, who sent us this video.

Hello, my name is Lukman Yusuf from Nigeria.

And I would like to ask the speakers this question.

In what way can the government, institutions and organizations

complement the growing digital innovation with the knowledge required

for full adoption by people in Bonneville communities

with little knowledge of how to read or write

to participate in the use of this technology?

Thank you.

[Lana Wong] Doyle. So Lukman raises an important point about digital skills.

What can be done about that?

[Doyle Gallegos] Well, thank you, Luke.

And this question goes to the heart of our biggest challenge right now.

Right now, we need to find innovative ways

to boost the usage of a beneficial Internet for all.

And when I mean all, I also include the disabled.

And by disabled, we're talking about people with special needs

the elderly, as well as the illiterate.

What can we do?

Technology can help us to a great extent.

In fact, it's a big challenge because right now,

WHO estimated about 1 billion people in this population that are disabled.

And if trends continue the way they are right now

by 2030, half the planet will be considered

part of the disabled population.

So, yes, technology can help us solve a lot of this problem.

But the grand irony is

is that many of the innovations we have today, that can make a difference...

There are barriers

to bringing those technologies into our client countries

because of obsolete regulations, policies, standards don't exist for devices,

for hardware, software, cloud services that can all be enabled

to provide relief to these disadvantaged populations.

[Lana Wong] Great. Thank you.

And so over to you, Leila. We have a question from Nicholas who says,

how can emerging digital tools help with global challenges like climate change?

[Leila Search] Absolutely. We're seeing a lot of digital tools

that have the potential to scale solutions to solve problems,

particularly in climate change.

We're seeing these digital tools and these new business models

really across all industries and sectors.

We're seeing it in agriculture,

we're seeing it in logistics, we're seeing it in energy.

And IFC seeks out to both partner and invest

in these type of companies that are making these changes.

For example, in Kobo360, an E-Logistics company,

they're using artificial intelligence

to be able to smartly route trucks to cut down on emissions.

Another example, Twiga,

in the area of agriculture and food,

it's been shown that artificial intelligence could cut down on food wastage

by as much as £35 million a year.

And Twiga is just one of those companies.

They also work in the supply chain to make that delivery much more efficient.

And then lastly, in energy,

where you're starting to see a shift to use of solar power.

I have season invested in a company called Solfácil.

It really enables both the distribution, the installation

of solar on top of rooftop for consumers and small businesses.

And I think these are just thousands of the types of innovations

that we're seeing in digital tools that can help address climate change

in emerging markets.

[Lana Wong] That's great and exciting.

Some good news in the midst of everything that we're dealing with today.

So back to you, Doyle.

We have a question from Blossom via World Bank Live

who says according to accounts of COVID's economic impact,

advanced nations will recover by 2023.

But for developing countries, that timeline will be much longer.

So she wants to know how can the World Bank, through its work in digital,

help to narrow that recovery timeline for the low and middle income countries?

[Doyle Gallegos] Yes.

And in fact, it doesn't have to take that long.

What I mean is, if we are successful in assisting our client countries

on the acceleration to digital transformation,

that time period can be very much reduced.

So, again, how do we do this?


if we don't do something now, the opportunity cost and the lost

opportunity gets higher and higher every time we lag.

So what it basically takes is governments coming together

and thinking about a strategy.

We assist these countries strategies.

We look at the baseline,

what are the diagnostics, what's the current situation?

We will help them put the roadmaps to digital transformation.

That's the easy part.

The hard part comes when you have to identify the gaps in either policy, regulation or standards

so that you can close those and attract the private sector

to come and invest and accelerate the whole process.

[Lana Wong] Great. Thank you.

So for you, Leila.

We have a question from Shirvan.

Can you give some recommendations in the marketplace or fintech space

for digital solutions that are affordable for emerging economies and communities

trying to build solutions for the unbanked?

[Leila Search] Yeah.

And, you know, historically, financial services have been expensive.

And we also know from World Bank data that,

even though great progress has been made in the last five or ten years,

we still have as much as 33% of the world population

or 1.7 billion people who don't even have access to a basic bank account.

And why has it been so expensive?

It's been so expensive because you needed

the physical infrastructure to reach these people.

You had to have bank branches.

You needed to have agents in rural areas.

You need people to staff and to run loan documents and this type of stuff.

And I think we've had a big digital revolution

with both fintech companies that are starting to enable that.

You can open a bank account virtually.

You don't have to step foot in a bank.

You can make payments, you can make your bill payments.

You can apply for a loan.

And all of this is being enabled by technology,

which then cuts the cost and it makes it affordable.

And I think during COVID, you even saw a complete revolution,

almost a leapfrogging, of the adoption of financial services digitally.

People couldn't walk into banks.

And then even more importantly,

I think the regulators have started to catch up on this.

So they were starting to enable regulation

that allowed these virtual financial services.

But COVID proved to them that they had to change even further.

So in countries like Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere,

you can now virtually open a bank account

by regulation without having to go into the bank.

So I think this combination of both these new models

and financial technology and using technology

along with the regulators,

can really help us close this gap even more exponentially.

[Lana Wong] That's great. Thank you.

So back to you, Doyle.

We have a question from Mohammed.

There is consensus that digital economic transformation

is key to economic growth and job creation.

However, in developing countries, basic digital infrastructure are lacking.

So what sustainable countries can really help countries...?


Sustainable strategies can help countries really overcome this challenge.

[Doyle Gallegos] Now, again, another great question,

and it's really comforting to see that 39% of our respondents

think that infrastructure is still quite significant.

We at the Bank believe that digital infrastructure

is the foundation of foundations.

If we don't get the digital infrastructure right,

we have no digital disruptive technologies,

we have no digital transformation, and we don't have a digital economy.

So we have to get this right.

The estimate is globally, about $500 billion of private capital

needs to be deployed to fill that infrastructure gap.

So we assist our client governments really again

to try to understand where the gaps are, where the biggest needs are,

and we help them revise regulations to really crowd in the private sector.

And what was the private sector need?

Well, we need a lower cost of fiber optic backbones.

We need to do that through infrastructure sharing,

lower cost of spectrum, more reasonable taxation.

Once the infrastructure is built, we have to make it accessible to everyone,

open-access and nondiscriminatory practices

so that an entrepreneur or a large ISP Internet service provider

can come and provide services.

Last of all, we really need the government and private sector to sit together, plan

plan, prioritize where the infrastructure has to go

and make it happen.

[Lana Wong] Great. Thank you.

And so the last question for you, Layla from Abdel.

Is it possible for the digital revolution

to facilitate job creation for young people in developing countries?

[Leila Search] In short, absolutely.

And this digital revolution has created so many job opportunities,

but in different ways in the digital economy and digital companies.

What we're seeing, I think,

that helps create and helps make these jobs happen

are two fronts, at least on the technology sector.

And what you're realizing is that the education of yesterday

no longer works for our young people of today and this digital economy.

People need technology skills.

They need data science skills. They need machine learning.

They need Internet marketing.

And that can't be delivered fully in emerging markets

by four to six-year institutions where you need to have proximity to them.

So IFC is doing a lot in that regard.

We're doing a lot in what we call EdTech space.

We've invested in companies like Coursera and Crehana

that are delivering real time, just right content

for the skills that are needed in today's economy,

especially on the digital side.

But then even more importantly, COVID has also changed the way people work,

the way people hire, the way they find talent.

And so there are also platforms that help with this matchmaking.

You find companies now.

Now, digital jobs can be done virtually.

So you can have talent of young people from Kenya, from Ukraine,

working in companies in Brazil and UK, in the US.

And they can do it virtually.

And they can also have that skills set

delivered very quickly through these online platforms and education platforms.

So I think it's created much more job opportunities,

in fact, than ever before where you had to be in physical proximity.

[Lana Wong] That's great.

We could talk about this for ages.

But I just have to send you a big thank you for both of you.

And also thank you to our viewers who asked all of our questions.

So to finish off our program on a high note,

let's see the digital revolution in action.

In Cabo Verde on the West Coast of Africa,

a digital health pass which uses blockchain technology for verification

has boosted the uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Take a look.

What excites me most about the Nha Card

is that I work on a project that is helping the country reopen for business


and enables citizens to move freely and travel by presenting this health pass.

My team and I have worked hard to ensure this certificate is valid,

recognized and can be verified anywhere in the world.

The Nha Card is enabling Cabo Verde to move towards a new normal,

to allow for economic reopening, and bring confidence in the health situation.

The Nha Card goes beyond COVID-19.


Right now, we are talking about COVID

but the Nha Card aims to transform the entire healthcare sector.

allowing the healthcare sector to enter the digital transition.

Our goal is that the Nha Card will accompany the citizen through his lifetime.

Working on this project was very satisfying to me

because I felt that I made a very big contribution to the country and to this economic reopening

but above all to the freedom of people to move freely in a safe way.

Hello! I'm Noydalay Manosack in Vientiane, Lao PDR

and you are watching the World Bank Group IMF Spring Meetings.

Now, this marks the end of our Spring Meetings event,

but there's so much more to come,

including tomorrow's event on financing climate action.

Then on Friday,

the focus turns to helping communities living in fragile or conflict affected situations.

Also on Friday, we'll be exploring how the reform of subsidies

could promote trade and development.

And on Saturday, we'll be discussing the importance of investing in people.

You can also catch a replay of both this event

and yesterday's discussion between the bank and IMF leaders

on responding to global shocks, all at

And please remember to share your comments on today's event

using the hashtag #PowerOfDigital

and any of these flagship events using the #ResilientFuture.

Thank you for joining us today.

We hope you've enjoyed the discussions and perhaps learned something new.

From everyone here in the atrium of the World Bank Group in Washington, DC,


This is a public event — no registration is required. However, we encourage you to set a reminder by signing up for e-mail reminders or adding the event to your calendar. 

To join the event, simply come back to this page. This event will also stream on the World Bank's social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Read the chat below!

Read the chat below

Read the chat below

Read the terms of the Privacy Notice before submitting any personal information.  

About the Spring Meetings 2022

The Spring Meetings bring together leaders from government, business, international organizations, and civil society, along with a diverse group of experts, to discuss global challenges and the path ahead. Join us and participate in our virtual events dedicated to international development.

Apr. 12: Addressing Challenges
Apr. 19: Global Shocks and Uncertainty
Apr. 20: Opening Press Conference
Apr. 20: The Digital Revolution
Apr. 21: Financing Climate Action
Apr. 22: Fragility
Apr. 22: Subsidies and Trade
Apr. 23: Human Capital

We are streaming in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

Read the chat below

Nada Snoussi:
What, do you think, are the main and most influential drivers of investments in green/renewable energies in developing countries?

Can the economics of supply and demand be reset? What happens, for example, if a barrel of oil goes to $50 today, what does that do to global prices and living conditions?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question. Surging commodity prices have contributed to broadening price pressures and pushing inflation above central bank targets in the vast majority of inflation-targeting countries. These price pressures are having an adverse impact on living conditions, especially for those in low-income countries. You can find more information about these issues in our recent Global Economic Prospects publication 

Inyengiyikabo Abolo:
What will happen to the current conventional energy sources (oil and natural gas) when we actualize the dream of clean energy?

russel reid:
What role has the financialization of commodities in recent years played in these price spikes?  And do the commodity traders need to be properly regulated?

Can we do something to avoid imbalances or just prepare answers once they come?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question, Jonathan. The experience of previous energy price shocks has shown us that countries can tackle underlying supply/demand imbalances by focusing on policies that promote energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy sources, and pursuing policies to encourage consumers to shift toward low carbon technologies. You can find more information about this in our recent Global Economic Prospects publication

The world over needs new technologies to produce energy in environmentally friendly ways. How is world bank tapping into raw ideas mainly from the third world countries?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question, Kamande. Agreed, in the last few years, the World Bank has invested more than $8 billion in clean energy, renewable energy access, and related infrastructure, and catalyzed over $20 billion in private investments in renewable energy generation capacity. You can find some examples here.

Allavo prosper:
How has the Russian invasion of Ukraine and covid 19 affected energy markets?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question, Allavo. The war in Ukraine is exacerbating volatility in energy markets. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and accounts for a significant share of coal and crude oil exports. The war in Ukraine has therefore led to significant disruptions to trade and production of energy commodities, exacerbating existing strains in energy markets. You can find more information about this in our recent Global Economic Prospects publication.

In Southern Africa we need to adopt waste-to-energy technologies, but the costs of setting up plants are quite high. Is there a possibility of getting assistance from the World Bank financially for us to adopt to this technology?

How can I join the program

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for your question! You can watch the event live this Friday, September 16 at 9AM ET. In the meantime, we invite you to take part in the poll found on this page and submit any questions that you would like to pose to our expert live-blogger and/or panelists.

What role is the World Bank playing in assisting non-governmental organizations in African countries and communities to sensitize and make green energy resources, like biogas appliances, available to the people in rural areas of the country for quick support for the threat being faced by the economy of such countries?

What is the scope of energy generation from biowaste?

How does financial inclusion play a role in food security?

Eunice Auma:
As we are addressing food security issues, can we also start intensifying talks on post-harvest loss and their solutions?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question, Eunice. Agreed, policies should prioritize support for production and producers, facilitate increased trade, support vulnerable households and invest in sustainable food and nutrition security. You can find more information on how the World Bank is supporting countries with food security here.

Peter Ndeleva:
What measures is the World Bank putting in place to empower small scale farmers who form a big part of the population in the food production equation?

Scott Awinda:
What is the best solution for reducing the cost of living, especially for low-income earners?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question, Scott. To cushion the adverse effects of energy price shocks on households, temporary targeted support to vulnerable groups can be prioritized over energy subsidies. You can find more information here.

How can OPEC countries help reduce surging oil prices?

It's going to be a live streaming on which channel

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for your question! The event will be livestreamed on this page on Friday, September 16. A recording will be made available after the event concludes.

Ukaoma farms:
How can I achieve energy self-sufficiency?

How does Sub Saharan Africa respond strategically given that they are not the main emission contributors and have very limited financing.

Omar S:
Where can I find the most recent data on the energy price crisis and its impact on the poorest communities?

Jeetendra Khadan (World Bank):
Thank you for this question, Omar. You can find recent commodity price data in our recent commodity markets outlook

Chat title

Senior Director, Microfinance and Ultra-poor graduation, BRAC International

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