Dear Minister Nica, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to attend this eGovernment Transformation Workshop. This event is organized by the Ministry of Information Society and the World Bank and it is part of the Bank’s regional work on the Smart Specialization and Digital Agenda.
I would like to extend a special welcome to our speakers and all participants from the government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
Thank you for taking the time to participate. We hope you will gain insights into how to transform eGovernment services in Romania.
Today’s workshop is designed to facilitate the exchange of views and experiences on strategies, frameworks and approaches developed in Europe and successfully implemented in many countries.
As you know well, definitions of e-government vary widely. However, there is a common theme.
Essentially, e-government is the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to improve government processes to the benefit of citizens, businesses and the government itself.
You may find such definition simplistic, but I find is fascinating.
eGovernment is not just about enabling existing processes by using digital means.
Rather, it involves rethinking and transforming the ways government institutions operate, with the citizens’ benefits and expectations at the core of such re-conceptualization.
This can be done through vertical and horizontal integration of government systems to enable communications crossing boundaries of different government institutions, agencies, and departments.
With eGovernment, citizens and businesses have easier access to government agencies and institutions and could avoid waiting in line or dealing with paper documents.
Who would not want to have that extra time and the sense of empowerment it brings with it?
In the last decade, e-government development has gained significant momentum, with European Union’s countries leading the way to accelerate Europe’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy.
The recent economic crisis has generated further support for eGovernment, as it forces all Governments to rethink how they can provide better services, in “half the time for half as much”.
However, despite such positive “take-up” of e-government services by citizens, businesses and government, we are moving too slowly.
Through our interactions with government institutions, we at the World Bank have learned to recognize warning signs of IT investments that do not support streamlined government functions.
With low levels of collaboration in government institutions, administrations continue to operate in silos resulting in fragmentation of efforts, budgets and personnel.
Diligent coordination of eGovernment activities and concerted collaboration are essential to achieve the transformation of eGovernment services in Romania.
ICTs are key to a country’s success and that is why we have partnered with Romania on various projects with ICT components, including the recently approved Tax Revenue Administration project or the Knowledge Economy Project, now completed, and implemented by the Ministry of Information Society that helped accelerate the use of eGovernment in more than 250 disadvantaged communities throughout Romania.