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“This starts with fair access to digital services specifically on connecting the unconnected,” said Michael Macdonald, chief digital officer of Huawei Asia Pacific, who conveyed Huawei’s agenda on consolidating three major pillars to tender digital divide in the region: ICT connectivity, talents’ vitality, and green technology.

To reach underdeveloped areas and improve digital coverage, Huawei initiates RuralStar program together with local operators globally, including in Thailand and Indonesia, since 2017.

This solution replaces traditional towers with simple poles and enabling a shift from diesel generator power to solar power. By the end of 2020, the RuralStar programme had been implemented in over 60 countries, with 50 million people benefited from this initiative.

Poon King Wang, director of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), called for long-term strategies and sustained support to upskill people across generations and ensure the wellbeing of workers in digital transformation.

Sofia Shakil, director of the Economic Programmes, Asia Foundation, addressed the negative impact of the pandemic on women unemployment and the urgency to invest in skills building.

In 2017, Huawei, the Bangladesh Government (ICT Division), and Robi Axiata jointly launched the Digital Training Bus project to bring digital skills to women in the heart of rural Bangladesh. More than 60,000 women had received training till now, and 160,000 more will benefit from it by 2023.

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