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International Partnerships
News announcement29 June 2021Directorate-General for International Partnerships

Digital4Development Hub: How the EU has been supporting the COVID-19 response with digitalisation

Smart Developement Fund programme
Smart Developement Fund programme, 'CallvsCorona' © Viamo

Today at the High Level event “One year of digital EU response to COVID-19”, the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union presented its digital Covid-19 response activities and impact from the past year through the Digital4Development Hub (D4D). The results have confirmed the potential of digital technologies for international cooperation and for global recovery.

When opening the event, Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, stated: “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is how crucial digital is in our lives.Team Europe builds partnerships globally with Digital4Development Hub to ensure everyone benefits from the transformation. D4D Hub is making headway in bridging the digital divide.

The results shown at the event have confirmed the strength of digital solutions to tackle the Covid 19 crisis. D4D has given critical support for digital connectivity in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, improving access and quality of education and healthcare during these difficult times. Together with its Member States and more than 50 partners the European Commission launched the Smart Development Hack 2020. As a result, more than 1.000 innovative digital solutions were identified to help partner countries to tackle COVID challenges related to health, economy and society and helped to monitor the pandemic and reduce disease transmission.

D4D has also created digital innovations for a COVAX vaccination campaign together with EU Member States, the EU Commission and digital ecosystem partners. More than one million people were already reached, and first projects are being scaled. For example the “CallvsCorona”-hotline in local languages was used in Madagascar by over 200.000 people for prevention information and the “Digital Enquiry Kit” supports journalists to identify and navigate misinformation.

The D4D Hub contributes to the fight against inequalities and to building more sustainable, resilient societies that are well-equipped for future challenges like pandemies.

On the D4D hub

The high level event took place a year after the European Commission published its “Communication on the Global EU response to COVID-19” and six months after the launch of the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub on 8 December 2020 by the President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen together with Head of States and Governments as well as senior representatives of Tech Companies incl. Ericsson, Nokia, Orange, Philips, SAP, SATEC, SES, and Vodafone, civil society and academia.

D4D has inaugurated a new era for the global digital development cooperation. Implementing the joint “2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade" – strategy through the Digital4Development approach – the cooperation aims promoting new international partnerships on digital transformation as Team Europe.

The D4D hub is guided by five operating principles:

  • Local ownership & win-win partnerships: Facilitate partnerships that add value and base cooperation activities on local demand
  • Multi-Stakeholder involvement & expertise: Fostering a sustainable digital transformation driven by a whole-of-society approach
  • Sustainable & green digital transformation: Using digital solutions for a green future while reducing sustainability risks
  • Human-centric approach: Promoting inclusive digital economies and societies in which all citizens have equal opportunities to participate
  • Data security & protection: Safeguarding data privacy, ethics and protection

A Team Europe approach

The D4D Hub is a key instrument to foster a Team Europe approach with unprecedented levels of coordination, advancing multi-stakeholder dialogue to leverage expertise and resources and share best practices.

It draws on contributions from all EU institutions and combines the resources mobilised by EU Member States and financial institutions, to address the humanitarian, health, and other consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The platform offers new opportunities for cooperation between the EU and Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU Eastern Neighbourhood.

The D4D Hub will also continue to foster knowledge exchange in the fast-paced area of digital for development, boost digital entrepreneurship, innovation and growth across all sectors, and support a safe and fair data economy, a major feature for global recovery.

More information

More on digital partnerships

Digital4Development Hub (D4D)

Smart Development Fund


Publication date
29 June 2021
Directorate-General for International Partnerships