Developing Digital Talent and Enhancing Digital Literacy for a More Sustainable World
Throughout human history, our ability to imagine a world beyond the status quo has been the driving force behind all development and progress. We made agricultural tools to carve out a permanent place for ourselves in the natural world, and developed machines to cast off the fetters of backbreaking manual work. We are now gathering oceans of data to drive progress towards a fully connected, intelligent world.
Our imagination drives advancement in technology, leading to an abundance of new applications that spur the need to learn and grow, which in turn reinvigorates our imagination.
Right now, digital technology is reshaping the world. They are playing a role in every aspect of our work and life. Next-generation digital technologies like 5G, AI, and cloud computing are converging rapidly, laying the groundwork for a booming digital economy. Green development is also gaining traction, promoting low-carbon lifestyles and production models. As digital and green technologies converge, they will create tremendous opportunities and drive social progress.
A greener intelligent world is fast approaching, but the road ahead is not smooth. The global digital skills gap is widening, which hinders innovation and socioeconomic growth. To bridge this gap, we need to cultivate more digital talent and enhance digital literacy.
Developing digital talent for a stronger digital economy
Digital literacy is essential for advancing the digital economy. The United Nations has designated education as a basic right, and as the world grows more digital than ever, the ability to access and use technology is an inextricable element of that right. Recognizing this, countries around the world are actively exploring the best ways to cultivate digital talent and enhance digital literacy.
The EU has developed the 2030 Digital Compass plan, aiming to train 20 million ICT specialists and equip 80% of adults with basic digital skills by 2030. Japan has launched the Digital New Deal, which aims to provide every student in elementary and high schools across the country with a computer by 2024 to help them begin developing digital skills at an early age. And China has announced its 14th Five-Year Plan on Digital Economy Development, which will bolster digital education to improve nationwide digital literacy and skills so as to drive the digital economy forward.
Digital skills are key to coordinating efforts to develop the digital economy, and countries that are not able to make full use of their data will be on the back foot. According to the EU's Digital Economy and Society Index, more than 37% of workers in the EU lack basic digital skills. Germany, for example, is projected to have a deficit of 4.9 million digital workers by 2030. In China, eight out of every nine ICT jobs are currently unfilled. It currently has a shortage of 12 million ICT workers, including nine million in emerging fields like AI, cloud computing, and big data.
As a tech company, Huawei is willing to do its part to help bridge the digital gap in the ICT sector. We are working with our partners worldwide to develop a more robust digital talent ecosystem and share ICT knowledge and skills.
In 2008, we launched a program called Seeds for the Future to support the cultivation of local digital talent in communities around the world. This initiative later branched out into other development programs, including technology competitions, dedicated scholarship programs, the Huawei ICT Academy, Huawei Developers Training, and the Huawei Cloud Developer Institute. So far, we have invested more than US$150 million in these programs, helping more than 1.54 million people from over 150 countries boost their digital skillsets.
In 2021, we launched the Seeds for the Future 2.0 program, which is part of our ongoing efforts to help cultivate broader swaths of digital talent. We will invest US$150 million in this program over the next five years, and we expect these efforts to benefit over three million more people. Moving forward, we hope more people and organizations will join our TECH4ALL initiative to support more inclusive development of digital talent around the world.
Improving digital skills in remote areas
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our world. And while many people benefit from digital connectivity in all aspects of work and life, the pandemic has widened the gap between the haves and have nots, further exacerbating the digital divide and digital poverty.
According to the GSMA's Mobile Economy Report 2022, only 6% of the world's population live in areas without mobile network coverage. Although the pandemic has increased the frequency of Internet use for many, the usage gap – people who have coverage but aren't using the Internet – remains. In 2021, the usage gap was 3.2 billion people, or 41% of the world's population. Needless to say, we still have a long way to go before secure and quality Internet connections are affordable and accessible to all.
For more than 30 years, we have committed ourselves to pushing the boundaries of ICT and promoting its global adoption. We have worked closely with carriers worldwide to build over 1,500 networks, connecting more than three billion people in more than 170 countries and regions. Huawei supports inclusive development and is working to drive broader digital inclusion through our targeted TECH4ALL program. We want to bring the benefits of digital technology to everyone.
As of the end of 2021, our TECH4ALL program has helped more than 110,000 people, including teachers and students from over 400 schools, as well as unemployed young people, learn new digital skills and improve their scientific and technological literacy. In addition to digital skills, making technology more accessible and available is an important part of these efforts. Each month, the accessibility functions on Huawei devices allow more than 4.4 million visually impaired users and over 800,000 hearing impaired users to use digital technology more seamlessly. And our RuralStar base station solutions have helped connect 60 million people in remote areas in more than 70 countries.
Huawei is committed to open collaboration. We are actively sharing the know-how, technical capabilities, and best practices that we have built up over the years with people around the world. Together with industry partners and educational institutions, we are creating an open talent ecosystem that thrives on shared success. This is part of our commitment to giving back to local communities and creating new economic opportunities.
In addition to promoting digital inclusion, we're also doing our best to protect the planet. We are actively innovating to conserve energy, reduce environmental impact, and build a greener, low-carbon, and fully connected world for future generations.
We embed sustainability into the entire lifecycle of our products. We will continue to invest heavily in areas like raw materials, production processes, algorithms, and cooling technologies that reduce the environmental impact of digital infrastructure. This will allow us to build more energy-efficient 5G networks, greener data centers, and eco-friendly electronics.
In the meantime, cyber security and privacy protection remain our top priorities. We will continue to communicate and collaborate with all stakeholders in a trustworthy, open, transparent, and responsible manner. Together, we can more effectively address shared challenges in security and trustworthiness through innovation, unified standards, and improved governance.
In 2021, we continued to advance our Software Engineering Capability Enhancement Transformation, incorporating it into our Integrated Product Development process to create more efficient and trustworthy R&D environments. By doing so, we hope to build trustworthy and quality products to ensure that both our processes and results are trustworthy, and that all necessary measures are taken to mitigate vulnerabilities and risks. Our ultimate purpose is to help customers build secure and resilient networks and create a greener, more secure, and more sustainable digital world.
A greener intelligent world is just around the corner. The digital transformation of industries, as well as green and low-carbon development, all rely on digital talent, so enhancing digital literacy is key. We firmly believe that open collaboration leads to shared success. We have embedded sustainability into all of our corporate strategies, transformation management, and business processes. Through nonstop innovation, we are working with our partners worldwide to cultivate digital talent, bridge the digital divide, and push the digital economy forward.
The road ahead is long and hard. But no matter how bumpy that road may be, we will stay the course. Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.
Chairman of the Board