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GovTech: Putting People First

About GovTech


The World Bank Group (WBG) has been financing digital government solutions for decades. GovTech is the term used to describe the latest generation of these reforms. Within the last five years, client countries are more frequently requesting support on how to design more advanced digital transformation programs to increase government efficiency and quality of service delivery, improve government-citizen communication, improve governance and oversight and modernize core government operations. The Bank’s GovTech initiative is a response to this growing demand. 

The World Bank, client countries and development partners have used the term “digital government” to describe modernization and transformation in public sector, and some still do and GovTech builds on that foundation. Figure 1 below shows the evolution of digital transformation in the public sector. 

The GovTech agenda also encompasses effective use of disruptive technologies (such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud computing and the internet of things), public data platforms (promoting the use of open public data by individuals and firms to create value), local GovTech ecosystem (supporting local entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop new products and services for government) and greater use of public private partnerships to draw upon private sector skills, innovations and investments to address public sector challenges.

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Governance Global Practice - Public Administration and Institutional Reform Unit

The Governance Global Practice’s GovTech work is supported by the Public Administration and Institutional Reform Unit. As a central unit, it helps coordinate and develop the agenda with analytical work and policy guidance, global public goods, convening and knowledge exchange as well as knowledge management and skill development. It directly works with World Bank task teams to help develop and conceptualize new projects and implement and oversee existing projects. The unit also engages in outreach and partnerships with external institutions, partners and experts. As part of its work, the unit coordinates the GovTech Global Solutions Group and the the GovTech Global Partnership.

Contact: Tracey Lane tlane@worldbank.org 

GovTech Global Solutions Group

The GovTech Global Solutions Group (GSG) was established in 2020 to create a network of technical staff across the Bank to facilitate knowledge generation and dissemination. The GSG is responsible for new knowledge generation and ensuring this is translated into operational guidance for task teams. The GSG is currently led by Kimberly Johns and Cem Dener (the Global Leads report to the GGP Director and Practice Manager) and includes a group of 11 WBG experts located in DC and country offices. The GSG members provide support for: (i) technical quality assurance; (ii) strategy, innovation and business development; (iii) country and global engagements; (iv) intellectual leadership; (v) mentoring staff and bringing on new talent; (vi) generating new knowledge and learning materials; and (vii) partnerships and outreach with other agencies.  

Contact: Kimberly Johns kjohns1@worldbank.org and Cem Dener cdener@worldbank.org

GovTech Global Partnership

To support aspiring GovTech countries in adopting sound practices and solutions, and to ensure a broad global partnership for effective exchange and transfer of knowledge and good practice, the GovTech Global Partnership (GTGP) was established by the World Bank's Governance Global Practice in 2019. The governments of Austria, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland are supporting the GTGP through a multi-donor trust fund. The Partnership’s vision extends beyond the trust fund and includes partnerships and dialogue with advanced and aspiring GovTech countries, private sector, civil society organizations and others involved in GovTech domain. The GTGP supports analytical and advisory work, global public goods, convening and knowledge exchange as well as the implementation of GovTech solutions.

Contact: Reinhard Haslinger rhaslinger@worldbank.org and Love Ghunney lghunney@worldbank.org 

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The World Bank’s GovTech work focuses on the following areas:



Challenges & Opportunities

 

Challenges

Key development challenges in GovTech domain are summarized below:
  • Trust in government and institutions remains low. More transparency and inclusiveness are needed.
  • High-level commitment and leadership are crucial to implementing whole-of-government approach, removing inefficiencies and reducing fraud and corruption risks.
  • Implementing digital government strategies and public sector reforms are difficult.
  • Substantial investments are needed for transition to integrated digital solutions and shared platforms.
  • Mitigating increasing cyber security, data protection and privacy risks is necessary to increase uptake and use of public sector platforms, e-services, and citizen feedback mechanisms.
  • Digital investments need the support of “analog complements” (WDR 2016): effective regulations (leverage the Internet to compete and innovate); improved technical skills (to take full advantage of digital opportunities); and accountable institutions (to respond to citizens’ needs and demands).
  • Ensuring GovTech solutions do not exacerbate existing divides in terms of access and literacy. 

Opportunities

The WBG has demonstrated comparative advantage, in terms of global knowledge and experience, to support our client countries to develop effective GovTech solutions in the following areas:
  • COVID-19 recovery and resilience: GovTech solutions are crucial for ensuring the continuity of core government operations and secure remote access of government officials, supporting vulnerable people and businesses, and deploying less expensive and more reliable ICT infrastructure solutions (e.g., government cloud, mobile/portable data centers) for rapid modernization of existing systems and services.
  • Government Core Operations: Modernization and digitalization of core government functions can make them more efficient, effective and transparent. Also, digital government capacity is positively associated with lower perceptions of corruption.
  • Human-centered service delivery: GovTech envisions a whole-of-government approach with integrated e-service solutions and e-kiosks such as online access to tax, registries for citizens, businesses, property, land, order certificates and passports and other. Interoperability of the government systems also enables governments to generate data for more informed decision making, compliance and monitoring.
  • Citizen Engagement: GovTech facilitates citizen engagement by promoting continuous two-way communication between governments and citizens through digital solutions such as SMS messaging, social media, online petition platforms and other.
  • The IDA 19 policy commitments include supporting at least 12 IDA countries to adopt universally accessible services and improve core government systems (with a focus on FCV countries).
  • Sustainable development agenda includes ambitious GovTech related targets to be achieved by 2030.
  • GovTech projects can support the DG reforms needs identified in the Digital Economy country diagnostics (digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital financial services, businesses, and digital skills).
  • GovTech projects can also support the jobs and economic transformation (JET) agenda in IDA countries.

The GovTech approach will also provide an opportunity to increase collaboration of the WBG global practices involved in digital and disruptive technology applications and support whole-of-WBG approach to present the WBG capabilities to client countries and development partners with a shared vision. Forging partnerships with private sector and civil society will support development and adaptation of innovative solutions for development and enable piloting of new and disruptive technologies in client countries.

Where to get more information

Public Administration and Institutional Reform Unit
Tracey Lane, Practice Manager
Email
GovTech Global Solutions Group
Cem Dener, Global Lead
Email
Kimberly Johns, Global Lead
Email
GovTech Global Partnership
Reinhard Haslinger, Program Manager
Email
Love Ghunney, Governance and Public Sector Specialist
General Inquiries
Email