UN officials call on Chinese business leaders to utilize technology for development

24 August 2007

United Nations officials yesterday called on top Chinese executives to utilize information technology to improve the plight of poor people in their home country and around the world.

“Development is no longer the sole responsibility of governments and non-governmental organizations,” Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang told a group of more than 40 Chinese executives gathered in New York. “We also need to harness the collective strength of private sector entities in support of our development efforts. We therefore consider you as an indispensable stakeholder in the fight against poverty, illiteracy and disease.”

Speaking at a panel on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) to address development problems, Mr. Sha said that “ICT connects the world and can give everyone a voice. It can aid education through distance learning, content creation and teacher training. It can empower women by helping them to acquire new skills, create business enterprises and create wealth.”

Sarbuland Khan, the Executive Coordinator of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, said the Alliance provides an opportunity for private sector executives from China to express their views on how to minimize poverty in China, India and across the developing world.

“You can take advantage of our platform to become more profitable, but also to contribute to the reduction of poverty,” he noted.

Participants agreed that bolstering information technology can serve to improve quality of life, and that the provision of training is in the best interest of corporations. Some attendees cited impediments to the spread of technology, such as the lack of appropriate software and computer illiteracy.

The panel was part of an all-day meeting, organized by Friendship Across Frontier and the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, which brought together Chinese and United States executives to discuss bilateral economic relations, trends in business and technology, and strategies in steering private Chinese companies into the global business arena.

 

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