New International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced that the UK government will host its first ever Global Disability Summit, bringing together global leaders and technology companies to tackle barriers faced by disabled people in the world’s poorest countries.
During a speech at Microsoft’s London headquarters today, Ms Mordaunt will set out plans for the summit in the new year.
Speaking ahead of her speech, the International Development Secretary said: “For too long many people living with disabilities in the world’s poorest countries have not been able to fulfil their potential due to stigma or a lack of practical support. They are, for example, missing out on school and the chance to work.
“Discrimination is unacceptable in today’s society. I want us all to act now and break down the barriers people with all disabilities face in their everyday lives, so they are not short-changed on opportunities to use their entrepreneurial spirit to help their countries prosper.
“That’s why I am bringing technology companies, governments and charities together at the UK Government’s first-ever Global Disability Summit in London in July 2018, to show our commitment to transform the lives of people living with disabilities.”
People with disabilities are at a disadvantage compared to disabled people worldwide, particularly in developing countries. In Bangladesh, for instance, $54 billion are lost every year because disabled people do not have the right support.
The Department for International Development want to look at how innovation and technology can help overcome these barriers and help people with disabilities.
Hugh Milward, Senior Director Corporate and External Legal Affairs at Microsoft said: “Microsoft believes that technology can play a critical role in removing barriers and empowering people with disabilities. At this moment, the world is at the dawn of a data and technology driven fourth industrial revolution, and these technologies enable governments and organisations to change the way they deliver services to their communities, customers and colleagues.”
As the former minister for disabled people, Ms Mordaunt is putting disability at the heart of the development agenda, with programmes funded through UK Aid Match and the Amplify challenge to help improve the lives of people with disabilities worldwide.