Digital development was on the agenda this week in Canberra at a meeting of the EU-Australia leadership forum, a three year knowledge sharing project. Experts discussed recommendations for a forthcoming paper aimed at informing collaborative digital development projects targeting Pacific nations.
Digital technology is increasingly becoming an enabler of development, Stefano Manservisi, director-general of the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, said in remarks to the forum. It was a commentary supported by Tobias Feakin, Australia’s new ambassador for Cyber Affairs. But stakeholders can use a range of programming and policies to ensure that technology does not create barriers between rich and poor.
Co-chairs Claire Rogers, chief executive of World Vision Australia, and Chris Locke, founder of Caribou Digital, led a conversation among representatives of government, development, research and the private sector from both Australia and Europe. Attendees included AID:Tech, Dalberg Data Insights, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, European Investment Bank, LaTrobe University, Optus, GSMA and SmartSomeGood.
Devex sat down with the chairs of the workshop to discuss how to move forward on digital development in the Pacific. In addition to providing recommendations, the workshop was an opportunity to connect Australia’s aid program with potential program partners, for example for DFAT’s innovationXchange unit that provides support for innovation across the Australian aid program.