Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, is representing South Africa in Honk Kong at the 2017 United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development meeting.

The commission discusses strategies of connecting the four billion people, who are presently not connected to broadband or fast internet in a cost efficient manner.

Cwele is one of 52 global Broadband Commissioners that are drawn from leaders in government, business, academia, policy makers and international agencies.

He will present information on how the South African government and the private sector are expanding their networks to cover the underserved and rural areas.

The 2017 Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide identified that the global internet user gender widened from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016. The gap in Africa is 23%. This year’s meeting will discuss strategies to connect more women to the internet.

“The United Nations has identified Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a key facilitator in socio economic development and poverty reduction,” the department said in a statement. “South Africa has developed policies that are aimed at ensuring that nobody is left behind in the move to the digital information society. These policies provide a framework for providing access to affordable, reliable and secure internet.”