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The Gambia, Vanuatu plan life-changing transformation with digital inclusion schemes

India, Malaysia provide role models
The Gambia, Vanuatu plan life-changing transformation with digital inclusion schemes

Collaboration between some United Nations agencies and the governments of The Gambia and Vanuatu are opening up the way for an array of important projects designed to drive social inclusion as well as economic growth and development. The collaboration also includes assistance in the development of digital public infrastructure (DPI) such as digital ID and digital payment systems which are important tools for attaining socio-economic growth. In other countries like India and Malaysia, DPI and digital transformation has made significant contributions to the betterment of ordinary citizens’ lives.

Massive digital transformation in Vanuatu

In the island of South Malekula in the South Pacific Ocean nation of Vanuatu, many lives have been positively touched thanks to the transformative power of digital inclusion projects being implemented with the efforts of the United Nation’s specialized agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ITU).

In a blog article, the agency details how the country’s southern region of Malekula is being transformed into a “Smart Island” where residents can now enjoy digital lifestyles in a way that was not possible a few years ago.

Launched in 2020, the project dubbed “Smart Villages and Smart Islands” initiative aims to significantly improve the living conditions of the people by facilitating the way they have access to healthcare, banking and financial services, as well as other digital government services.

A task force has been working with local communities to expand the gains of the project which is said to have metamorphosed into a new phase last year with more digital service providers joining in.

“The Smart Villages and Smart Islands initiative addresses development challenges by accelerating digital transformation at the grassroots level,” Cosmas Zavazava, director of the ITU Development Bureau is quoted as saying.

With this project, residents say they no longer suffer to access certain basic services.

Vanuatu has also had support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to build its civil registry

The Gambia to adopt digital ID implementation framework

After at least nine months of multi-stakeholder collaboration, The Gambia is set to adopt its Digital Transformation and Digital ID Strategies later this month.

To be adopted in a workshop programmed for December 19-20 in Banjul, the move will represent a key achievement in efforts to modernize and enhance inclusive and life-changing development for the small West African country.

This project, which enjoys the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), is also intended to enable the country undertake projects in the domains of digital innovation, sustainable economic growth, social inclusion and seamless delivery of services, per a press release from the ECA.

The Digital Transformation Strategy sets the template for an inclusive digital economy, the development of digital government services and digital infrastructure as well as capacity building and digital literacy.

On the other hand, the digital ID scheme intends to facilitate access to public and private sector services. It will have three principal features which include secure data management, interoperability, and privacy protection.

In September, ECOWAS officials were in the country to reiterate the importance of the regional biometric ID card in the West Africa regional integration drive.

India’s DPI, financial inclusion example

India is one of the countries with an enviable digital public infrastructure ecosystem. With the Aadhaar as the foundational pillar of the “India Stack,” the country has been making the most of critical technological tools to transform lives and ensure prosperity for many, according to an opinion piece by ET Infra.

The article argues that with the increasing adoption of digital technology, it is necessary for countries to put in place DPI ecosystems which can enable easy attainment of their socio-economic development goals.

It recalls the ground so far covered by the India Stack and the opportunities it has created for millions of Indians, including in the financial inclusion sector, where over 462 million low-cost accounts are said to have been opened using Aadhaar.

It also mentions how the UPI system has revolutionized business transactions and how the DigiLocker system facilitates access to official government documents with express ease.

The open API-interoperable and scalable nature of the India Stack, the authors underline, is a major point of attraction for other countries that are willing to copy India’s example. They also mention the premium which the India Stack places on data protection and privacy which are key concerns associated with digitalization.

Survey shows digital transformation enhances UX in Malaysia

A study commissioned by NEC Malaysia has revealed that the use of digital technologies in the country by businesses is enhancing service delivery and customer satisfaction.

The study, which targeted senior IT professionals in a number of business enterprises, shows that 89 percent of businesses were in for cloud computing as a safe and innovative technology in enhancing the customer experience.

Other technologies used, in the order listed in the survey results, are big data and analytics (64 percent), artificial intelligence and machine-learning (47 percent), and the internet of things (44 percent). Adoption of zero trust security approaches, including continuous identity verification, is growing.

The findings also show businesses consider data security and privacy as a major concern, as 86 percent of them reckon that it is important to “take a proactive approach to security, integrating security measures and protocols into every stage of their digital transformation journey.”

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