Make Internet access a global priority: Facebook chief

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Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook. UN Photo: Kim Haughton.

Internet connectivity can play a part in global efforts to create jobs, end poverty and provide education for millions of children, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told global business leaders gathered at the UN on Saturday.

The technology entrepreneur was in New York to make the case for why Internet access needs to be at the heart of the global development strategy.

He also previewed Facebook's plans to support UN humanitarian efforts during a keynote address to the UN Private Sector Forum.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Zuckerberg pointed out how Internet connectivity is transforming lives and communities across the planet.

It is being used to disseminate information in addition to providing education, improving health care and delivering other vital services.

Internet access also drives economic and social progress, he added, giving people access to opportunities, knowledge and resources.

But the Facebook chief said four billion people worldwide are being left out.

He called for more global action to make connecting the world a priority.

"By connecting more people in developing countries, we have an opportunity to create more than140 million new jobs, lift 160 million people out of poverty, give more than 600 million children access to affordable learning tools. This is an opportunity that's available to all nations today."

Mr Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be partnering with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide Internet access at refugee camps.

He also outlined plans to support other UN agencies with data collection to track progress on meeting the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World leaders signed off on the goals during a ceremony on Friday.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″ 

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