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Fund non-technical parts of digital public infrastructure for best results: DIAL

Fund non-technical parts of digital public infrastructure for best results: DIAL
 

Sustainable financing is needed to make sure that digital identity and other pieces of digital pubic infrastructure deliver the promised benefits not just to economies but to individuals, the Digital Impact Alliance says.

An expert comment from DIAL argues that more financing needs to be directed towards aspects of DPI other than technology. That means the civil society, academic and advocacy organizations that support the ecosystems involved in the design, deployment and governance of the digital systems involved.

The report was informed by interviews with 25 people and groups involved in global or national DPI projects. They include representatives of governments from countries like Sierra Leone and Ukraine, from organizations like the UNDP and World Bank, and product owners like Mojaloop. The Africa Digital Rights Hub and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also among the groups interviewed.

Five funding gaps were identified by DIAL, based on the interviews.

Investment in products can ensure countries have a choice, while research, evidence and advocacy are needed to spot and address common problems, develop training materials, such as for procurement and data protection policy, and to adapt approaches to the local environment. Funding for coordination between different government ministries is important to the sustainability of DPI, DIAL says, and communities need to be engaged early on, particularly those that are more likely to be excluded. Safeguards and complaint mechanisms like data protection authorities also need to be sufficiently funded to maintain independence.

Early public engagement for successful DPI projects was also emphasized in an ID4Africa workshop chaired earlier this year by the World Bank.

The good news is that the money is already there, DIAL says, in the form of commitments to various goals that will be furthered by DPI. What is really needed, according to the post, is the political will to allocate it properly.

Stakeholders recently committed to raise $400 million in funding for DPI projects by 2030.

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