The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Justine Greening, MP announced today plans to work with the World Wide Web Foundation to give millions of the poorest the power to hold their government to account and improve their lives through mobile technology.
At OpenUp!, a conference convening entrepreneurs, governments and civil society, hosted by Omidyar Network and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), she announced Britain’s plans to help six million of the world’s poorest to benefit from innovative new tech projects in Africa and Asia.
Secretary Greening said:
“With more than a thousand new mobile connections every minute in the developing world, we have a tremendous opportunity to ensure the voices of the poorest are heard. Mobile and web technology has the power to transform lives and improve the way governments work, but too often it has been overlooked. I am determined to use Britain’s aid to help citizens have a say in their future, speak up when they face crime or incompetence and make it easier to trade and grow businesses.”
The UK will support the Web Foundation’s Web Index, launched in September of this year, that measures the Web’s utility and impact around the globe. The country’s support will greatly enhance the Web Index’s analysis of internet use in poor countries and ability to provide a solid evidence base to find new ways to use the power of the Web to improve the lives of the poorest.
With support from DFID, The Web Foundation will also work with the UN, mobile technology company Kirusa, and others to support MyWorld - a mobile survey to allow at least two million in the poorest countries to have a direct say in the future of international aid through their mobile phones.
Web Foundation founding director Sir Tim Berners-Lee said of the UK’s support:
“I am delighted that the UK government is supporting The Web Index, so that policymakers and others can come to fully understand the political, economic and social impact of the Web’s growth and utility on poor people and nations. I commend the leadership and commitment of the UK in the open data effort. Opening up data is fundamentally about more efficient use of resources and improving service delivery for citizens.”
Read the full press release here.