Digitizing Governments

The Journey to Enacting a Digital Agenda

Digital technologies — especially connectivity, big data, and artificial intelligence, among others, are transforming every facet of the economy. With public sector expenditure in most countries accounting for anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP), it has become an imperative for governments to actively drive digitization efforts.

Governments are beginning to play a key role in the digitization of their country’s economy which is impacting industry and citizens — digitizing government ministries, government services, and every interaction with society. While governments will have a more direct role in driving the transformation of government services, governments investing in building a digital infrastructure will be a key enabler for digitization of the economy as well as society. It will improve how citizens access public and private transportation, healthcare, education, and all of their financial transactions.

A strong digital economy requires a robust digital infrastructure, with digital money, payments, and identity being ubiquitous enablers required for the transformation of any industry or society.
Citi’s Digital Money Index, published annually since 2014, helps governments understand the readiness of their respective countries for usage of digital money. Each step made progressing towards digital money readiness can significantly enhance a nation’s ability to digitally transform its economy.

National digital identity systems are a foundational element of a robust digital economy and will deliver transparency and efficiency for citizens, government, and businesses. The ability of an individual to identify themselves and for governments/ businesses to validate that identity is crucial for the effective functioning of a digital economy. Digital identity systems are also fraught with risks which require governments to play a key role providing sound regulation and oversight.

As countries and economies become digitized, governments must remain vigilant to cyber threats and have cyber risk mitigation strategies in place. Cyber resilience is a shared responsibility by all parties to ensure a high level of trust is embedded in every transaction between citizens and public sector entities. It will protect their data, help foster innovation and enable financial inclusion. Political and economic leaders play a critical role in ensuring public policy, regulation, and enforcement is in place to support integrity across the network

Wherever governments are on their digital journey, by leveraging emerging technologies, they have a tremendous opportunity to deliver more efficient services while reducing costs and freeing up funds to reinvest in new digital infrastructure. This report concludes with several public policy recommendations we have seen governments make to put their digital agenda in motion.