Digital technology has been widely recognised as a vital tool to further sustainable development. But many people around the world still lack basic skills required to reap the benefits of the digital economy. This week, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Basis Action Support to the Information Society (BASIS) initiative is seeking to address these gaps at a workshop to be held during this week’s 2018 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum in Geneva

Studies suggest that the majority of the adult population in developed countries have basic or no information and communication technology (ICT) skills. What’s more, despite the development of ICT in education policies, the integration of technology in classrooms across sub-Saharan Africa remains insufficient to meet the needs of the 21st century labour market.

“ICC BASIS believes the participation of all relevant stakeholders is integral to identify best practices and appropriate policies to develop a broader digital literacy culture. Through interactive dialogue and knowledge sharing, the skills gap can be understood and the opportunities it presents harnessed,” said Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, Project Director of ICC BASIS.

Convening governments and business representatives from around the world, the ICC BASIS workshop will address the opportunities and challenges countries face when seeking to provide meaningful connectivity to individuals and empower local communities with essential skills.

Participants from the Government of Benin, International Labour Organisation, Microsoft and GSMA will showcase success stories of implemented projects and best practices that have addressed digital skilling and offer insights into policy approaches needed to foster effective private-public partnerships.

The WSIS Forum 2018 (18-23 March) is the largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The annual Forum is a multistakeholder platform, co-organized by International Telecommunications Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in close collaboration with WSIS Action Line co-facilitators and other UN organizations. It provides an opportunity for knowledge creation, information exchange and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends, fostering partnerships, and taking into the evolution of Information and Knowledge Societies. This year’s forum takes place under the theme Leveraging ICTs to Build Information and Knowledge Societies for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Simultaneously, the first Open Consultations and Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) meeting of the IGF 2018 preparatory cycle will be held on 20-22 March at ITU’s headquarters in Geneva Switzerland.

The ICC BASIS workshop Connecting communities by building digital skills – a way towards the SDGs takes place on Thursday, 22 March from 16:30 – 18:15.