During the development of the Digital Economy Kit in 2019, the Kit was implemented in pilot processes in Ethiopia, Mongolia and South Africa. The lessons from these countries have shaped the final Kit. These countries differ widely in terms of levels of development, population size, and political environment but the Kit is designed to be a flexible framework that can be adapted to meet the needs of the country using it. Each of the three pilot countries ran a unique process, with a different structure and timeline. The Kit process has recently been completed in Bangladesh, Benin and Malawi, and is currently underway in Indonesia and Lesotho.
In South Africa, the Digital Economy Kit was implemented under a different name, SADA (South Africa in the Digital Age). SADA was steered by an advisory board of public sector representatives, industry leaders, and academics. The SADA process took an “opportunity-first” approach to implementing the Kit, by first identifying concrete and scalable opportunities for job creation and inclusive economic growth, and using these visions to structure the dialogues.
The work was coordinated by Genesis Analytics, an economics consultancy, in partnership with the Gordon Institute for Business Sciences (GIBS), based at the University of the Witwatersrand, between January and October of 2019. The resulting strategy primer was submitted to the president’s Public Private Growth Initiative, as well as the Presidential Commission for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to inform policy making and public investment.
Appendix to Digital Readiness Assessment – detailed analysis [download PDF]
Dialogue Process Overview [download PDF]
Dialogue Agendas [download PDF]
Strategy for Globally Traded Services [download PDF]
The Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT) took ownership of the Digital Economy Kit process in Ethiopia and aimed to produce a strategy focusing on job creation foreign exchange generation in the digital age. The process in Ethiopia took place alongside telecommunications liberalisation discussions, so the coordinating team used prospective changes in the telecommunications sector as an opportunity to articulate a vision for all Ethiopians to benefit from digital transformation.
MInT partnered with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change to coordinate the Kit in Ethiopia from July to November 2019. Due to mixed success with previous large, multi-stakeholder national dialogues, the dialogues phase started with a series of around 50 in-person consultations with leaders across government, the private sector and civil society. This was complemented afterwards with larger workshops to validate findings and create alignment between state-level priorities and federal agendas.
The Mongolian government was keen to use the Kit process to formulate strategies for economic diversification away from mining, which is highly dependent on global commodity prices for coal and copper. Investments in human capital and digital connectivity presented an opportunity for the country to boost agriculture value, capitalise on rising demand for IT skills outsourcing, and create a vibrant startup ecosystem.
In Mongolia, three key government agencies (led by the Cabinet Secretariat but also including the Communication and Information Technology Authority and the National Development Agency) worked with Access Solutions LLC, a policy consulting agency, to run a national policy process from April to September 2019. The engagement of the private sector actors as well as civil society in the policy process was unprecedented in Mongolia, and led to a robust shared vision of digitally-enabled inclusive growth in the country. The Strategy Primer was supported by actors across the society and economy, and was presented at a conference ‘Nomads in a Digital Age’ that was opened by the Prime Minister of Mongolia.
Dialogue Agendas [download PDF]
In Bangladesh, the Information and Communication Technology Division of the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology was the core agency responsible for coordinating the Digital Economy Kit process. Bangladesh had already made remarkable process on digitising service delivery through the flagship project Digital Bangladesh, and the Kit process was aimed at expanding on this work by looking at ways that further investments in infrastructure, skills development and service delivery platforms, and policy reforms, could support the development of a vibrant and inclusive digital economy. The result of the work was a strategy primer that enumerated opportunities related to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS) sectors, the continued integration of digital payments and development of platforms to connect informal workers to the formal economy, as well as the creation of a vibrant innovation ecosystem for digital entrepreneurs looking to address challenges in Bangladesh.
This work was done in partnership with the BRAC Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD) and involved the participation of government agencies ranging from Access to Information (A2i) to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, as well as representatives from large and small to medium sized enterprises, civil society and academia. The Strategy Primer was launched by the State Minister for ICT and it will be used to inform priorities for digital transformation in Bangladesh.
As countries work through the Digital Economy Kit process and try to come up with digital economy strategies in particular sectors, it can help to look at what has been done in other countries. The case studies below provide lessons and demonstrate different approaches to achieving digital readiness under the four Kit pillars (teams can also consult the completed Kit documents). The case studies are not meant to be prescriptive, but rather they showcase the diversity of initiatives and policies adopted aiming at harnessing the digital revolution for inclusive development.
Countries need to consider investments in both hard and soft infrastructure to be able to take advantage of the digital revolution. The case studies below provides lessons from a range of countries.
India: increasing electricity coverage with off-grid solar power [download PDF]
Myanmar: delivering affordable internet [link]
India: lessons from Aadhaar biometric ID [link]
Georgia: building a community network in the mountains [link]
Digital transformation cannot succeed without building human capital, providing social protection, and ensuring well-functioning labour markets. The case studies below demonstrate a series of approaches to delivering digital skills and addressing skill mismatches, drawing from examples in South Asia.
Individual households need to be able to afford digital technology, and firms and governments need to be able to finance investments. The case study below showcases an approach to financing large digital infrastructure process as well as creating ecosystems for financing startups and scaling up SMEs across Indonesia.
Indonesia: Fibre-optic cables across an archipelago – Palapa Ring Project [download PDF]
New digital technologies are putting strain on traditional regulatory approaches, and so countries will need to identify where and how to update their policy environments. The case studies below describe innovative approaches to regulating disruptive businesses and addressing challenges to taxation, data privacy and governance across a diverse set of countries.
Brazil: multi-stakeholder politics of national privacy laws [download PDF]
Tanzania: creating a diverse mobile money market [download PDF]
Kenya: a regulatory sandbox for the financial sector [download PDF]
India: drafting data protection laws [download PDF]