Assistive Tech

Assistive Tech Programme

Advancing digital inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Our mission is to drive greater access and use of mobile technologies for persons with disabilities in emerging markets and maximise opportunities for social and economic inclusion.

Today, over one billion people need at least one form of assistive technology (AT), but around 90 per cent of them do not have adequate access to the AT they require. This number is expected to double by 2050. The lack of access to AT limits the capacity for people to live healthy, productive, independent and dignified lives; and to access healthcare, education, the labour market and civic life.

The restricted access to education and employment means that people with disabilities and households with disabled members remain economically disadvantaged and less able to participate in their communities. Research shows that in many countries, a disability and development gap is growing; unless people with disabilities are routinely included in development efforts, their socioeconomic status often remains static while the status of their non-disabled peers surges ahead.

As more services become ‘digital by default’, there is an increased risk that persons with disabilities may be left behind if technology products and services are not made accessible and affordable to all. The GSMA Assistive Tech programme works with the mobile industry and key stakeholders to address the digital inclusion gap of persons with disabilities, and identify innovation opportunities for making mobile technologies enablers of ATs.

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Principles for Driving the Digital Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2020, the GSMA launched the ‘Principles’.

The ‘Principles’ set out a framework for action for the mobile-industry, together with recommended activities, to help address the barriers that currently prevent persons with disabilities from accessing and using mobile-enabled products and services.

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GSMA Assistive Tech aims to drive greater digital inclusion for persons with disabilities through the following activities

  • Research and insights
  • Innovation funding
  • Partnerships development
  • Advocacy, knowledge sharing and advisory to mobile operators
Download our programme overview 
This initiative is currently funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and supported by the GSMA and its members.
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