Crescent Enterprises commits to one billion lives challenge

Badr Jafar, CEO, Crescent Enterprises
Badr Jafar, CEO, Crescent Enterprises

Published: Mon 14 Feb 2022, 2:37 PM

Crescent Enterprises has announced its commitment to the EDISON Alliance one billion lives challenge, to impact 100,000 youth in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region by 2025 through a set of comprehensive initiatives across its technology investments, new business incubation, and corporate citizenship programmes. Crescent Enterprises is the first business in the MENA region to make a commitment, which targets underserved communities focused on digital access, telehealth, and digital skilling.

The one billion lives challenge is part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) EDISON Alliance, a global movement of public and private sector champions, who are committed to prioritising digital inclusion as foundational to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and EDISON Alliance Champion, announced this commitment at the third meeting of the Champions. He said: “Digitisation isn’t an end in itself. Addressing our social, socio-economic and environmental challenges is of course the real goal, and technology is a means to that end, and a crucial tool in that quest. We are deeply committed to help to equip the true agents of change, our youth, with the digital tools necessary to build an equitable and sustainable future in our region, and globally.”

Isabelle Mauro, head of Digital Communications Industry, WEF, said: “We are at a critical crossroads when it comes to building the equitable future we all hope to see. Now, more than ever, leaders across the world must acknowledge the urgency of bridging the digital divide and work fervently to accelerate inclusion”.

Today, 37 per cent of the world remains offline. Among other realities, that percentage translates to 265 million children with no access to education, billion people with no access to healthcare, and 1.7 billion adults who remain unbanked. As more basic services continue to shift online, digital gaps are exponentially deepening inequality.

Crescent Enterprises’ corporate venture capital arm is actively increasing digital access and use in the region, through FreshToHome, an online retailer that enables fishermen and farmers take electronic bids on their latest yields, giving them heightened control and cutting out the middlemen, and Vezeeta, a digital healthcare platform that serves more than four million patients in 55 cities in six countries.

To achieve its vision and ensure that every person can affordably participate in the digital economy, the EDISON Alliance has actionable plans to increase public commitments from public and private sector to drive the adoption of digital services for all, to encourage system level change through partnerships, evidence-based policy and innovative capital at scale.

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