Press Releases

    18 June 2002

    CEOs Pledge No Less Than 20 Per Cent of Philanthropic Budgets to ICT for Development

    Microsoft Joins Hewlett Packard, Equitable Cardnetwork, Masreya, MIH Group, Vivendi Universal as Signatory of CEO Charter for Digital Development

    NEW YORK, 17 June (UN Headquarters) -- At a special meeting of the General Assembly today, Microsoft announced its commitment to pledge no less than 20 per cent of its philanthropic budget to information and communications technology (ICT) for development under the CEO Charter for Digital Development, a recent initiative by the World Economic Forum. The United Nations Information and Communications Technology Task Force is actively supporting and promoting the CEO Charter.

    Much like the UN ICT Task Force, the Forum Task Force -- launched at the Annual Meeting 2000 held in Davos, Switzerland -- is mandated to develop and propagate creative public and private sector initiatives to transform the digital divide into an opportunity for growth. The UN ICT Task Force and the Forum Task Force have been working together through their global networks and partners to build digital divide-related initiatives and to advance the issue on global and regional public policy agendas. In their work to bridge the digital divide, the Task Forces also work with other stakeholders such as the Global Business Dialogue on e-Commerce (GBDe) and the Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC).

    In February, to support and strengthen projects already in existence, and to stimulate possible new projects, the Forum Task Force launched the CEO Charter for Digital Development. The Charter calls for corporations to pledge no less than 20 per cent of their corporate philanthropic budget to mainstream ICTs for development in their own giving. At this time, six corporations have signed on. They are Hewlett-Packard (USA), Vivendi Universal (France), MIH Group (South Africa), Masreya (Egypt), Equitable Cardnetwork (Philippines) and Microsoft (USA). Since its inception in February, the UN ICT Task Force has joined the Forum Task Force in supporting and promoting this private sector effort.

    An important and useful by-product will be the information gathered as a basic first step. Useful data will be gathered on the participating private companies, such as who is giving what, to whom, where, why and when. With this information gathered, analyzed and made centrally available, other stakeholders, such as non-governmental organizations and other civil society partners, will be able to more effectively target their proposals for development projects around the world, ensuring that the right players successfully connect with one another.

    In the framework provided by the UN ICT Task Force, the three steering committees of the World Economic Forum are working to help develop projects on the ground in education and entrepreneurship. These projects are being realized through the assistance of the Committee for Democracy in Information, Educar Chile, Itrain, Schools Online, World Computer Exchange, and World Links, partnering with corporate supporters, such as Siemens, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Africa Online and McGraw-Hill.

    Over the past year, the World Economic Forum worked together with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to collect and interpret information on e-readiness in the region. The UN ICT Task Force, which will meet again in September, will work with the Forum's Global Digital Divide Task Force and the e-Africa Commission of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to expand this effort to other African countries.

    The ICT Task Force will also cooperate with the Forum's Steering Committee on Entrepreneurship, which is carrying out regional pilot projects to connect local entrepreneurs with organizations that can offer support and resources. For instance, an online resource to support entrepreneurs will be launched. Three pilot projects are currently in progress, two in South Africa and one in Brazil; an additional 10 projects have been proposed. In these efforts, the lead member companies are Accenture, KPMG and Hewlett-Packard.

    The UN ICT Task Force is chaired by Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Information and Communications Technology. The World Economic Forum Task Force is co-chaired by Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, EMEA, Microsoft, France, Jean-Marie Messier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vivendi Universal, France, and Maureen O'Neil, President, International Development Research Centre, Canada.

    For additional information, please contact Enrica Murmura (212) 963 5913,; Julianne Lee at +41 22 869 1214,; Ellen McGuffie (212) 963-0499,; or Edoardo Bellando, (212) 963-8275,

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