Sitting pool-side at the opulent Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong is perhaps not the best setting for thinking about all those poor souls that don't have access to high speed broadband and ICT, but think we did at the opening keynote of the 2006 NetEvents conference.
Opened by A. Reza Jafari, senior vice president and managing director at networking services and interoperability outfit NeuStar, the message was clear. Of the six billion people on the planet, four of those are currently denied access to ICT and this was causing a "digital divide" between the haves and the have nots. This, Jafari believes is preventing the developing world create a "stable economy and a better life."
Jafari's message was sincere. Coming from a background where he himself borrowed $500 from his family to generate a $65m business in seven years, he is a keen supporter of micro financing and believes that access to the life-changing benefits of IP, Wireless and broadband are a "human right."
If the same financing approach was offered to the developing world he believes people will have: better literacy; more jobs; a better standard of living and fundamentally more choice. And this, he believes, is "one of the foundations of freedom and democracy."
To this end, his dream of a "one world knowledge economy" will mean that future leaders and policy makers will be true global citizens. He urges current leaders to not be short-sighted for political gain and hopes that as an industry we can get people closer to each other via the advancements in technology.
"It's the destiny of the industry, its a matter of choice not chance, "he said.
Tomorrow, Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman of one laptop per child will talk about "No Lap Un-Topped, the bottom up revolution that could redefine Global IT Culture. See the Sleuth's exclusive video of the first working prototype here
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