Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is calling on the United Nations to make universal internet access a reality by 2020. Zuckerberg, who is working with the One organisation, formed by U2 singer and post-Geldof pseudo-Messiah Bono, made the proposal in a speech at the UN as part of its Global Goals initiative, explaining that “connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation.”
“Today over half the people on this planet don’t have access,” Zuckerberg later said in a New York Times op-ed he wrote with Bono. “That is not good for anyone — not for the disempowered and disconnected, and not for the other half, whose commerce and security depend on having stable societies.”
Zuckerberg used the examples of African farmers tracking inventory and prices of crops and livestock via mobile internet and refugees that use smartphones to stay in touch with loved ones after fleeing their countries to illustrate that the internet improves the lives of everyone. According to a UN report, 57% of the world – a massive 4 billion people – do not have internet connections.
“It’s one thing to say we should connect the world. The real trick is how,” Zuckerberg said. “There’s no simple solution or silicon bullet.”
With the advent of mobile internet, the biggest remaining obstacle to bring internet to new areas is access to electricity. “Nine out of 10 rural Africans don’t have electricity,” said Zuckerberg. “Governments can make the difference. This is why we support initiatives like President Obama’s Power Africa plan and the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act in Congress, as well as the African Development Bank’s investments in renewable energy.”
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Image courtesy of Life News.