ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, with the mission to connect the world. To achieve this, ITU manages the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits at the international level, works to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishes global standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communication systems. 


Expert Consultant on Closing the Digital Divide 


Vacancy notice no: 1674 
Sector: SG
Country of contract: Remote
Duty station: Home Based


Position number: [[positionNumber]] 
Grade: [[PositionGrade]] 
Type of contract: Consultant
Duration of contract: 8.5 months, start date immediate (ideally August 1, 2024 to Apr 15, 2025)
Recruitment open to: External
Application deadline (Midnight Geneva Time): 18 July 2024




The General Secretariat directs administrative, human and financial resources and activities of the Union, including the implementation of the provisions of the administrative regulations on operational questions, the dissemination of information on telecommunication/ICT matters for operational and other purposes, and the provision of legal advice to the whole of the Union.  The General Secretariat coordinates the implementation of the Strategic Plan, monitors the telecommunication/ICT environment and recommends as needed action relating to the Union’s future policies and strategy.  The General Secretariat ensures inter-sectoral coordination and cooperation to advance a whole of ITU approach (One-ITU) in headquarters and the field. The General Secretariat provides logistical and information technology support to the Union’s activities including conferences and global forums; the coordination of the work of the Union with the United Nations system, and other international organizations; and the engagement of the Member States, Sector Members, and Academia. The General Secretariat manages corporate governance, and strategic communications and relations with the media, different stakeholder groups as well as the general public. 



The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Communication, Space and Technology Commission (CST) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration for leveraging digital as a genuine turning point for realizing the SDGs, closing the digital divide and connecting the unconnected.


The purpose of this consultancy is to draft a study ‘Action Blueprint’ that further researches and guides global efforts on how best to connect the unconnected. The aim of this study is to shift from analysis into action and to: (i) extend our existing understanding of the digital infrastructure investment gap, (ii) further enhance the innovative solutions needed to ensure universal access to connectivity, affordable and sustainable devices, and the skills needed to use these devices safely and responsibly to grow the digital economy, and (iii) outline a partnership model to activate the Action Blueprint.


The overall deliverable is the Action Blueprint. The Blueprint will leverage ITU’s core research and analysis on digital connectivity and investment, including the report “Connecting Humanity: assessing investment needs of connecting humanity to the Internet by 2030” published in August 2020. It will extend this initiative to refine/update these estimates especially for those costs associated with adoption (e.g., capacity-building, content, awareness raising) and to narrow down estimates to the specific regions and countries that are in most need. 


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be achieved:

  • Innovative connectivity solutions: the percentage increase in the population's access to the internet and digital connectivity in the beneficiary countries compared to the baseline; increase in the number of new actors providing connectivity in a locality or region.
  • Affordable and sustainable devices: the number of devices distributed in beneficiary countries and their adoption rate.
  • Smart upskilling program: the number of individuals who have undergone digital skills training and their proficiency levels.
  • Economic impact: the growth in local businesses, jobs creation, and economic development attributed to increased connectivity and digital access.
  • Global collaboration and multi-stakeholders' engagement: the number of partnerships established with governments, private sector, academic institutions, and international organizations.



Key Sections of the Action Blueprint and work for the consultant will include:


a. Monitoring & Assessment Mechanism

Building on the KPIs identified, the consultant will describe key monitoring and assessment mechanisms, at either the local, project, regional or national level (or any combination thereof) and how these could be used effectively to ensure compliance with national policy goals, CSR or ethical considerations.


b. Case Studies

The consultant will research and describe (at least) five country case studies (see above, one per ITU geographical region).  The case studies will provide a brief situational analysis of the status quo, main challenges to connectivity, digital skills and uptake, and identify key drivers for success in connecting less connected areas and people. They will identify key actors, funding possibilities and constraints, and describe how promising partnership models were developed.


c. Partnership Model

The consultant will outline the multi-stakeholders' partnership model needed to implement the Action Blueprint. This will include bringing together a range of organizations and experts to discuss the Action Blueprint, and what can be activated at the global and the regional/country level with a focus on advancing progress in the CITPs.


d. Connectivity Infrastructure Transformative Projects (CITP)

The final section in the Action Blueprint will identify a set of high priority ‘Connectivity Infrastructure Transformative Projects’ (CITP) that we expect will have the highest impact on closing the digital divide and will transform connectivity at the local and regional level. It is proposed that there should be in the order of ten CITPs, with a focus on, but not limited to:  Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States, identified in the Action Blueprint.



A report called the Action Blueprint, minimum 50 pages, including any supporting data annexes and documentation required, which will contain the following sections:

  • The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that can be achieved upon the implementation of the Action Blueprint.
  • A monitoring and assessment mechanism for the implementation of the Action Blueprint.
  • Case studies (at least five).
  • Draft Action Blueprint Partnership Model.
  • A list of ten high-priority ‘Connectivity Infrastructure Transformative Projects’ (CITP), including two per ITU geographical region.


The consultant will present this work to internal ITU audiences, and potentially also external audiences.


An initial first draft of the report will be required by November 2024 under the following deliverables schedule:

  • August 15: outline of Action Blueprint and list of annexes.
  • September 30: completion of first high level draft.
  • November 15: completion of first full draft of main body text (may be issued as an initial draft publication).
  • February 25: completion of all annexes and other supporting materials
  • April 15: final review and sign off.


The consultant will be required to meet on a regular basis with the project team to review progress.



  • Microsoft office.
  • Effective communication and writing skills in English.



Education: University degree in business administration, economics, finance, information technology, telecommunications or a related field from a reputed college of advanced education, with a diploma of equivalent standard to that of an advanced university degree in one of the fields above.


Experience: At least fifteen (15) years of experience in engineering, economics, finance, regulatory and policy issues, telecommunications engineering, and/or operations or satellite engineering.

Experience in ICTs for development, an understanding of multi-stakeholders and private/public collaboration, and with the deployment of telecommunications networks in developing countries would be desirable.


Languages: Knowledge of English at advanced level.



Lump sum 100,000 CHF. To be paid in 4 instalments as follows:

  • 25k CHF upon signature of the contract.
  • 25k CHF upon delivery of first high level draft (expected Sept 30, 2024).
  • 35k CHF upon delivery of first full draft of main body text (expected Nov 15, 2024).
  • 15k CHF upon completion of the contract (expected Apr 15, 2024).


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the ITU Careers website. The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. ITU uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates. Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided. Messages originating from a non ITU e-mail account - - should be disregarded. ITU does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

ITU applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. ITU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization. Achieving gender balance is a high priority for ITU.