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Discussion |May 29, 2018

Virtual discussion: Why does connectivity matter?

3D-rendering-global-networking-connectivity Photo: rost9 /

UPDATE | JUNE 27, 2018: Thank you to everyone who participated in our first virtual discussion. We invite you to read the detailed Discussion Summary, available in the sidebar (at right), or join the GICA LinkedIn Group to browse the full discussion.

Help shape the next revision of the draft discussion paper, "Why Connectivity Matters"; send your feedback to Kara Watkins at, by Friday, July 6, 2018.

A sneak peek at a few notable quotes:

  • "Connectivity is not necessarily a yes/no variable, nor linear, but there are thresholds, and improvements matter more to those who are currently not or very little connected." — Jan Hoffmann
  • Material flows have been too much overlooked by scholars in their quest to understand supply chain actors and strategies . . ." — César Ducruet
  • "The world's largest 25 gateways account for about 50% of all the container and air cargo activity." — Jean-Paul Rodrigue
  • Although largely positive and important to growth, [the] trade that services the connectors may also include risks and vulnerabilities. — Morag Baird


The idea of connectivity has become a byword for progress and development in the modern economy. Improving connectivity infrastructure is high on the policy agenda of most countries and global development and financial institutions. Despite — or perhaps because of — the ubiquity of the term, connectivity is widely accepted as a public good and a more fundamental and technical discourses on connectivity has been ignored.

For example, why does connectivity matter?

It's a key question that points to the heart of GICA’s mission, and one that every practitioner and policymaker working on infrastructure-related projects must answer to better assess past investments and guide future policy decisions.

It's also a question that will kick off the first in our series of connectivity-focused Virtual Discussions on LinkedIn, starting Monday, June 4 at 9:00 a.m. CEST / 3:00 p.m. Singapore Time. The discussion will develop over two weeks. 

Join moderator Jan Hoffmann, Chief, Trade Logistics Branch, Division on Technology and Logistics, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and a panel of expert discussants as we explore the complexities and possibilities surrounding infrastructure connectivity.

Ahead of the discussion, we invite you to read a short background paper (draft), “Why Connectivity Matters,” developed by the team from the World Bank Singapore Hub leading the GICA Secretariat, along with our blog post, “Conversations on connectivity, part 1: What lies at the core of connectivity?

How to participate in the discussion:

  1. Sign into or join LinkedIn.

  2. Go to GICA’s LinkedIn Group and request to become a group member. Requests will be approved within 24 hours.

  3. Before posting, please review the Group Rules, listed on the Group page.

  4. Contribute to the conversation by posting responses to questions posed by the moderator and replies posted by discussants and fellow group members. Note: Responses are limited to 1,000 characters per post.

  5. Check your Group Settings to ensure you receive notifications when new questions or responses are posted in the GICA Group.


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