High-level dialogue: accelerating digital transformation of government services— GovStack

19 May 2021 12:00h - 13:00h

Event report

The session addressed the challenges to and solutions for accelerating the digitalisation of government services around the world. The moderator, Ms Kate Wilson (CEO, Digital Impact Alliance, United States), started the meeting by emphasising that digital government services, including health, education, and social protection, are crucial in improving the lives of citizens. The transition to digital government services has faced lack of coordination between public sectors, the culture of working in siloes, and funding possibilities. In this regard, the GovStack initiative was created in 2020 to support governments in addressing the challenges that arise. Wilson asked the panellists to comment on the role of digital technologies for governments and the potential benefits that GovStack can bring to the digital transformation.

GovStack will support public actors in becoming more accessible, transparent, accountable, and efficient when providing services digitally, underlined Mr Stephen Bereaux (Deputy to the Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau). These benefits can be achieved only if governments move towards integrating systems and operations. GovStack is about enabling solutions and building capacities for countries whether with high or low resources. Digital tools should be used by all agents of public administration to reduce costs and increase the speed of public services.

GovStack can support the digital transformation by encouraging and aiding governments, particularly those in lower-resource settings, to take ownership of their digital futures. The approach consists of building blocks to enable public agents to easily create and modify their own digital platforms, systems, and applications, explaned Ms Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk (Director, Private Sector, Trade, Employment, Digital Technologies of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany).

Digital society has little to do with technology, but with the capacity of society to adapt to innovation. Digital transformation comes only with a shift of individual mindsets, commented Mr Marten Kaevats (National Digital Advisor, Government Office of Estonia), drawing from the past 25 years of supporting the Estonian government to provide services digitally.

Mr Lacina Koné (Director General, Smart Africa, Ivory Coast) noted that digital transformation depends as much on changing the culture of public agents as it does on implementing telecommunications infrastructure. Koné believes that public digital transformations rely on broadband connectivity, digital education, and increasing digital skills. These three elements are essential to create a favourable environment to sustainable and resilient digital transformation.