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UNDP, World Bank take stock of digital transformation progress

UNDP, World Bank take stock of digital transformation progress

The UNDP and World Bank continue to promote DPI development in the Global South.

Marcos Neto, UN director of policy and program support for the UNDP, delivered a management response statement to the independent evaluation of UNDP’s support of the digitalization of public services at the first regular session of the 2024 UNDP Executive Board Evaluation Session.

At the same time, the World Bank has shared results from its support of DPI infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

UNDP to support digital legal identity as a key driver of digitalization

In response to its recent evaluation, the UNDP will continue to develop its digital public infrastructure (DPI) approach, facilitate inclusive, rights-based digital transformation, and build a digital and data ecosystem prepared for future developments.

The UNDP will continue to facilitate the user-focused design of key drivers of digitalization, such as digital legal identity and digital financial services by taking actions such as collaborating with the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda Task Force.

As part of the 50in5 program, the UNDP will support at least 10 LDCs in developing DPIs, supporting collaboration between nations in the Global South in part through the FutureGov platform, which supports policy and program development for digital public services.

The UNDP launched the 50in5 program in November of 2023 to support the launch of DPI in at least 50 countries by 2028. In January, the Dominican Republic joined the campaign.

Another response the UNDP outlines is to support five countries in using the Digital ID Governance Framework to share insights with communities and networks like ID4Africa.

Other responses include launching the Digital Readiness Assessment for local governments (rec. 2), facilitating funding from philanthropic organizations (rec.3), and facilitating equitable access for women (rec. 7).

World Bank shares DPI development highlights for Sub-Saharan Africa

The World Bank shared highlights from the SSA region’s progress in expanding DPI.

In the past six years, the World Bank has provided $731.8 million in funding for 11 digital development projects. In the past 10 years, another $2.8 billion was allocated for 24 digital development projects currently active in SSA.

Over 160 million Africans got access to broadband internet between 2019 and 2022. The region has seen country specific achievements as well. Between 2021 and 2022, 1,700 kilometers (roughly 1,050 miles) of fiber optic cable were deployed in Mauritania. And 4.7 million Ugandan residents participated in a program that lowered prices and extended geographical coverage of broadband.

Between 2011 and 2021, the number of individuals in the SSA region using the internet has risen by 514 percent.

While the region has made progress, only 22 percent of those in SSA were using mobile internet service despite 3G service being available in regions where 84 percent of people reside. Sixty-one percent of those in the region live within broadband range but are not using it.

Going forward, the World Bank will support DPI development by investing in digital IDs and payment systems and by closing the broadband access gap through strategic catalytic investments, including ones for gender inclusion and digital literacy.

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