A toolkit to measure and shape an inclusive digital economy

8 Dec 2021 10:15h - 11:45h

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An inclusive digital economy has a major impact on shaping society today. The OECD’s Going Digital Toolkit is structured along seven policy dimensions of the Going Digital Integrated Policy Framework, which cuts across policy areas to help ensure a holistic economy and society approach for realising the promises of a digital transformation for all. One of the vital things the toolkit monitors is digital progress. Measuring digital divides and AI’s impact are extremely difficult processes to navigate, partly because there isn’t a single definition of AI. Another greatly important area is digital skills and the gender gap in digital skillsThe final dimension is market openness, which is truly the enabling environment for the digital economy to thrive. The goal of the discussion is to make digital transformation work not only for growth but also for well-being. It took two and a half years to develop with representatives from each policy community represented at the OECD.

According to Mr Dominik Rozkrut (President, Statistics Poland), the OECD toolkit is a very beneficial and informative tool, one can compare specific country data with any other country data. Like everything in our society, changes are taking place and with progress comes disruption and challenges as well. High-level initiatives are critical because they move societies to the next level of digital development while at the same time, there are whole demographics that remain excluded.

Ms Nagwa El Shenawy (Undersecretary for information and decision support, Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology) stated that Egypt has made significant efforts in measuring digital transformation, particularly in terms of access and use. Their work also covered important dimensions such as gender, location (urban-rural) to determine the inclusivity of digital transformation. Data based strategies seem to be the best aid and support for policymakers in implementing digital transformation strategies, and monitoring current policy situations. Egypt has an AI strategy that focuses on capacity development and it has started being implemented. 

Mr Mark Uhrbach (Head of Digital Economy, Statistics Canada) highlighted Canada’s efforts to quantify digitalisation and well-being, which is covered as a broad theme in the Going Digital toolkit. The ability to segment data by sociodemographic characteristics was another useful feature. In accordance with the recommendations in that document, the ICT household adoption and use questionnaire was expanded in collaboration with well-being experts at Statistics Canada to include additional questions about the self-perceived quality of relationships, as well as the frequency with which family and friends are connected in a virtual or physical setting. They were created using OECD guidelines for measuring subjective well-being, which have been used in other Statistics Canada projects.

The overview of Brazil’s efforts to produce ICT statistics was given by Mr Alexander Barbosa(Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group). In Brazil, public statistics are traditionally used to measure the impact of digital transformation in the country. There is generally a broad consensus among Brazilian stakeholders that producing reliable data is key to creating effective policies, fostering digital transformation to reduce existing deep digital inequalities in Brazil.

A digital divide still exists, especially in the northern rural areas of the country. Annual statistics have been produced since 2005, covering a wide range of demographics such as households, businesses, government and health, and education. Statistics are also supported with regular independent ICT surveys in accordance with international standardisation organisations’ standards, such as OECD, ITU, etc.

By Jovana Martic

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