UNICEF, in collaboration with Arm, released findings of ground-breaking new research revealing that over 2 billion lives can be changed by investing in emerging cities across the world, while also generating up to $2 trillion in revenue by 2022. The Tech Bets for an Urban World research reveals that businesses who invest in technology solutions designed for emerging urban cities can not only do good business but also simultaneously deliver social change for people who need it the most.  
 
The research highlights the scale of the unrealised potential of emerging cities extrapolating findings from three up and coming locations: Nairobi, Jakarta and Mexico City. It identified six technology areas where the industry can collaborate, innovate and invest to deliver social change and financial return. The ‘tech bets’ are:


•    Smart water metering which could see 2.5-3 billion people gain access to affordable and clean water; 
•    Emergency response, where innovation could link 3-3.5 billion people to a range of life-saving services
•    Blended learning, where teachers could use online content in lessons to engage and inspire up to 500-600 million children
•    Multi-Modal Skilling, which has the potential to equip up to 60-120 million young people in developing countries with the skills they need
•    Smart Recruiting for the Informal Economy, connecting between 0.8 – 1.2 billion people across the informal economy 
•    Commuter Car Sharing, a carpool system to provide safer, more efficient, and better quality transportation for potentially 350 million people around the world
 
By 2030, up to two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, with approximately 1.8 billion of them under the age of 24. Tech bets for an Urban World highlights that the technology sector has a crucial role to play in driving sustainable growth and social inclusion worldwide. It confirms the potential of the private sector to accelerate progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  A major step in putting the Tech Bets research into action sees Arm and UNICEF collaborate with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The African Academy of Sciences (funded in partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)) to launch a Global Grand Challenge inviting innovators to create scalable technology solutions to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for the poorest children and their families living in urban cities. 
 
Tech Bets for the Urban World was conducted by Dalberg and comprised of immersive research. This includes one to one conversations and focus group discussions in homes, schools and local community institutions with over 200 women and children across all three cities, as well as 100 interviews with local technology innovators. In addition, there was a consultation with an industry advisory committee made up of leading companies with deep topical expertise like Google, Facebook and Microsoft as well as sector leaders like Merck among many others.

Find out more about the 6 Tech Bets by reading the report
 

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