Director General of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Stelios Himonas this week said that Cyprus is focusing on digital skills and access to Gigabit connectivity, stressing that support for innovation and entrepreneurship is crucial for the digital transition.

Himonas represented Cyprus at a ministerial conference within the framework of the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS 2023) organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which took place on March 15 in Geneva.

At the centre of the conference discussions was the role of information and communication Technologies as driving forces for accelerating the achievement of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).  Furthermore, the participants exchanged views and best practices regarding the formation of the Global Digital Compass, a set of principles and policies that will govern a right digital future beneficial for all.

During his talk, Himonas underlined the importance of developing resilient digital infrastructures and ensuring universal access to high-speed internet connectivity for a sustainable and fair digital transition.

“This is what we are looking forward to in Cyprus as well through targeted actions such as state subsidies for the connection of households with high speeds as well as the expansion of network development in every corner of the island, ” Himonas said.

In addition to that, he mentioned the equally important pillar of education and the development of citizens’ digital skills, so that all citizens worldwide have the safeguarded ability to utilise all the opportunities offered by digital technologies.

“At the national level, we have drawn up a holistic plan, under the coordination of the Deputy Ministry, which foresees actions worth more than €24 million from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, to bridge the digital divide in the labour market and building an open and inclusive society,” Himonas said.

“Such actions, include training programs for the public and private sector workforce, the general population but also special groups such as the elderly and residents of remote areas, as well as the modernisation of the education system, in a way that utilises the digital technologies in teaching and learning, to cultivate the skills of the future but also to promote the professional direction STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics),” he concluded.

During the Summit it was discussed to create an Alliance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Digital Development. This will be a network of states and organisations that will support the efforts of national ecosystems to develop the capabilities necessary to lead in the new digital environment.

“Cyprus supports initiatives aimed at promoting innovative entrepreneurship to accelerate the digital transition at a global level, ” Himonas said.

He was referring to important policies and reforms that our country has carried out in recent years for the creation of an environment favourable and friendly to entrepreneurship and investment, in direct relation to the objectives of the national digital agenda.