Why this matters

The year before COVID-19 triggered the greatest economic crisis in decades, manufacturing value added had seen the slowest year-on-year growth rate since 2012. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the manufacturing and transport industries hard, causing job losses and declining incomes for workers in these sectors. The crisis poses unprecedented challenges to global value chains by disrupting both the supply of goods and the demand for them. Small-scale industries have been severely affected by the pandemic and many continue to face existential challenges. However, the COVID-19 crisis also offers opportunities to foster industrialization and bring ground-breaking technologies to developing countries.

Globally, almost 85% of the population was covered by a 4G network at the end of 2020. Between 2015 and 2020, 4G network coverage increased two-fold globally.

Content from the UN, read more here.

Our response

 We know that when people can access the  internet, they are able to use services that improve their lives. For example 1.6 billion mobile subscribers have used mobile to monitor their health and 1.2 billion people have a mobile money account.

Access for all is therefore a priority – and rural connectivity is a specific focus area for us. Within the EU, 29% of the population live in rural areas. In Africa, the number is much higher. In Tanzania, for example, over 70% live in rural areas.

Expanding rural networks can often be more challenging and have a lower return on investment due to lower population densities. That is why we are finding new ways to roll-out our network to rural locations in our markets, through a number of initiatives and innovative partnerships, including network sharing.

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