Reducing inequality has been identified by the United Nations (UN) as one of its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform the world. Inequality has a very direct impact on living conditions. For example, women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centers. Thailand is particularly affected by inequality:
- Thailand is the third most unequal country in the world, according to an OxFam study.
- 10% of the Thai population is underneath the poverty, mostly in the agriculture sector.
- The top one percent holds almost 60 percent of the world’s total assets.
This is why dtac has chosen to focus on supporting UN SDG #10–reduced inequality. We believe mobile networks have the power to accelerate achievement of this objective. According to the World Economic Forum (2014), each additional 10 percent of internet penetration can lead to a 1.2 percent increase in per capita GDP growth in emerging economies. The global telco industry has already connected 5 billion people but we can always do more. Here’s how.
1.Tackling inequality with innovation
In Thailand, about forty percent of Thailand’s population work in the agricultural sector. Only 10 percent of the country’s GDP is produced by this same sector, reflecting low productivity and inequities that can be improved with access to mobile farming information services.
dtac has been running the “dtac Smart Farmer” project by offering a range of innovative AgriTech and training programs of online marketing to help educate Thailand’s young smart farmer. We have rolled out Internet of Things technology in pilot farms and produced and app that offers real-time market prices and valuable agricultural knowledge.
dtac also runs the dtac accelerator startup incubator, by far the most successful in Thailand. Not only this supports the Thailand 4.0 goals of digital development, but one of the dtac accelerator startups, Ricult, is directly involved in delivering actionable information to farmers.
2.More affordable internet for all
dtac offers the lowest rate per gigabyte for data and is committed to keeping our prices affordable for as many people as possible. To achieve this goal, it is also essential the government make available as much spectrum as possible, at prices in line with similar markets, and within a clearly defined roadmap. On our side, we have double the speed at which we are building base towers and are switching to virtualized core technology, an essential technology to keep internet affordable despite Thailand’s fast-growing data needs.
3.Safer internet for all
To make the internet more accessible, we must also make it safe for everyone. dtac has been running anti cyber-bullying campaigns and educating youths in school about the potential dangers of the internet.
But safety also means those working for dtac on the ground should be safe. We have a stringent policy to control our vendors and ensure they meet our high standards for working conditions.
Looking forward, dtac’s Reduced Inequalities plans through 2020 remained fully committed to empowering society:
- Continued training and activities to build a safer online experience for all users, especially children
- Partnerships towards Reduced Inequalities
- Ecosystem employment, including economic contributions of direct, indirect and induced employment through local operations
- Improving working conditions in the group’s vast supply chain by building capacity on safer working conditions.