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The digital divide

A digital society needs a digital identity. More than that, we can see that itsme actually lowers the barrier for digital interaction.

“Using the app makes it easier for people to find their way to government services and other departments,” says CEO Kris De Ryck. “Applications such as MyPension are now visited far more often via itsme than previously. Which is great news for the government. Because now it can reach people who were previously out in the digital cold.”

Which is why itsme is putting its weight behind a new project from the King Baudouin Foundation and WeTechCare (non-profit organisation) designed to narrow the digital divide in our society. There’s a major need to do so, too, for both young and old.

To make e-inclusion a driving force of social integration, an online teaching tool is actually being developed. This tool uses videos and illustrations to support the use of day-to-day digital applications (banking transactions, recording the meter readings for water and electricity consumption, etc.). Febelfin, the association that represents the Belgian financial sector, has already pledged its full cooperation for the initiative.

In Belgium, nearly 10% of people aged between 16 and 74 have never used the Internet. 39% of the population have no or only low digital skills. Françoise Pissart, director of the King Baudouin Foundation: “Hundreds of thousands of people – in the main people with a low level of education and modest incomes, as well as older people – experience digital exclusion every day in a variety of areas: looking for a job, finding somewhere to live, accessing healthcare, doing the administrative jobs that need to be done, communicating with their kids’ school and so on. But in our society, digital is not a luxury for the select few; it is a basic need. And by not fulfilling that need, we are making social inequality worse.”

This initiative fits perfectly into itsme’s new program “Smart Move” dedicated to the added value of a digital ID for our society.