Information technology key to alleviating poverty: seminar

Update: July, 18/2017 - 19:00
Viet Nam News

New York – Việt Nam has pledged efforts to promote the application of information and communication technology (ICT) in poverty reduction and sustainable development, said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Thế Phương.

He made the statement at an international seminar jointly held on July 17 in New York by Việt Nam, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Italy, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The event was organised on the sidelines of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) high-level segment. 

Việt Nam will invest VNĐ11 trillion (US$484 million) from the Public-Utility Telecommunication Service Fund by 2020 to ensure that internet and other telecommunication services are accessible to all schools, hospitals, communes, poor and near-poor households, highlighted Phương, who is also head of the Vietnamese delegation to the ECOSOC high-level segment. 

He shared Việt Nam’s challenges in the field, including the capacity of local authorities, application skills of people, and databases. 

Phương added that the full involvement of the State, local people, businesses and foreign partners will speed up the country’s ICT application in poverty alleviation and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation. 

At the event, international representatives said that ICT is one of the main tools in implementing the SDGs, contributing to job generation, eradicating poverty and ensuring social welfare. 

Specific experiences in ICT application were shared, including simplifying administrative procedures on land for farmers, building up the healthcare records of poor residents, promoting education and vocational training and providing online financial services for production households and vulnerable groups. 

They also gave out recommendations on low-cost ICT solutions to enhance economic efficiency, government support for direct dialogues between local people, businesses and ICT service providers as well as studying the possibility of the latest ICT applications in poverty reduction like artificial intelligence and 3D printing. 

Besides encouraging bilateral cooperation, the participants called for the UN’s support for developing nations through organisations like the UNDP and ITU. 

The international seminar was an initiative of Việt Nam as an ECOSOC member for the 2016-2018 tenure, aiming to make contributions to the discussions on the high-level segment themed “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.-VNS