By Paul Rasmussen

4YFN panellists put focus on underserved markets

To provide mobile internet access to the underserved will require a better understanding of the many sectors that suffer from restricted or no connectivity, together with the critical importance of finding and building appropriate partnerships. This call was a common theme from the four panellists at the 4YFN Reaching the Underserved Population Segments session on Tuesday.

“We need to understand the unconnected sectors have different needs and we must approach them in a manner that has helpful and meaningful propositions,” said Telenor’s VP of Sustainability, Zainab Hussain Siddiqui. “We need to build trust and help the unconnected better understand the benefits of acquiring digital skills.”

The five focus areas for those targeting the underserved were highlighted by David Woolnough, Deputy Research Director for the UK F&C Development Office. “Last year it was estimated that nearly 4 billion people worldwide had no digital access. We’re pushing forward with the five key areas agreed by the industry: knowledge and skills, affordability, relevance, safety and security, and simple access – namely the provision of electricity, devices and connectivity.”

The F&C Development Office claims that it has helped 50 start-ups with a focus on providing skills and expertise for the unconnected in many parts of the world. “The 50 companies have now gone on to raise a total of over £500 million in finance to boost their work,” added Woolnough.