The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Hi, Axel, if you can hear me, are you ready? We can't hear anything on your end.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Hello, Chrissy? Yes, this is Axel speaking. Can you hear me?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Now I can.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Very good. Can you see us as well?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: No. I see a Zoom screen.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Which is already something, okay.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: We saw you for a bit and then it switched over.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Okay. The technicians are still working on it. Maybe it takes another minute or two and then hopefully we can get going. In terms of panelists, to we have now full attendance from all the people we expect?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: We do. We have everyone and we can see you now. So that is good.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Very good. You can see us now. Okay. Then I think we are ready to start. I think you will probably welcome the colleagues and participants now as moderator here, and I will then take over after your brief remarks. Right?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Yes. Correct.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Okay. Chrissy, then please let's get started. We have a smaller crowd here, but they look still very energetic and extremely interested in the topic and very demanding, so I think we have to really make a joint effort. No, I'm kidding, but I think it's a good group and absolutely ready to enter into the discussion now. Over to you.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Great. Thank you all for joining. I realize that there is a lot of parallel sessions so a lot to choose from, so we really appreciate you taking time to hear from leaders around the globe about why they've committed to the charter for digital public goods, a global campaign to celebrate and highlight efforts to make digital public goods a more viable option Digital Public Infrastructure. The campaign is two‑fold. There is a charter and that forward a vision and commitment framework for the idea of making digital public good really an Open-Source technology and really play a strong role in space inclusive and Digital Public Infrastructure. This falls under the UN Secretary General Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and Global Digital Compact.
So today I want to give you a very brief overview of what we mean when we say some of these terms, but as really thank and welcome our panelists who have joined us today. They are early endorsers of this charter and have really played an instrumental role in helping to build out the core components of the government digital stack, ID, data exchange layers, mapping layers, right, those really core digital systems that governments are building out now to help really empower people to make better decisions about issues like climate, build the foundation for private sector innovation, so the Digital Public Infrastructure is really critical, but we see that it's not always done well, it can be really challenging if you get the wrong vendor, the wrong company, and you know sometimes it's, you know, without the proper kind of controls for data protection and other ways to really make sure that it's designed for people rather than for empowerment. That is really where this charter comes in is making sure that there are enough Open-Source technologies out there that are secure, that are sustainable, that governments have a really viable and robust opportunity to build out the infrastructure.
So that's as quick as I can make it. I know this is a lot in there, but I think we will dig into it as the panel goes on. I'm going to play a remote role here and for the most part I'm going to pass over to the moderator in person to take it away. Thank you.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Wonderful, Chrissy. Thank you very much for the important input here and welcome here to the participants. My name is Axel Klaphake, Director for Economic and Social Development and Digitalization at GIZ Headquarters and used to work here in Ethiopia for quite some time and a bit familiar with the country and very happy to be here.
I think the topic that you have introduced, digital public goods and Digital Public Infrastructure, DGP and D PIs, DPGs, D PIs. Those are extremely important to our heart and as development corporation of German development we try to promote the underlying values and philosophy. We strongly believe and Chrissy mentioned already that technology that is Open Source and uses open standards has countries respond to open challenge in the environment be it the legal framework and challenges by adjusting technologies themselves flexibly with a digital transformation that's based on an Open Source and whole‑of‑government approach, I think that is really the basis for many countries to ramp up their local, public, and private digital ecosystems and to drive their changes not alone, but really together as part of a global community. I think this is really also a blueprint of how global cooperation, international cooperation on digital matters, a very crucial digital matters, can actually be, yeah, operationalized and really be implemented.
Because of this, German Development Corporation, GIZ being part of the system, we've been a pretty big supporter of DPG charter and Chrissy, thank you very much for explaining your work and we have tried to engage ourselves from the very beginning.
We really believe that this charter not only strengthens the coordination between parties, but as amplifies the approach and really helps to develop the approach further also from a conceptual point of view, and it really explains why and what kind of digital transformation is what we believe needed, which is the UN‑centric inclusive and open and secure digitalization.
So, we support this initiative also by some also related efforts, the other day and actually yesterday we had already a session on the GovStack initiative, which is also one of the flagship initiatives and programs of our organization by really bringing the whole‑of‑government approaches and many international experts together. Furthermore, we also are supporting digital impact alliance and digital public good alliance as all of these alliances are very important global players in the emerging global ecosystem we would want to see thriving over the next years and decades.
So those are my very brief views here for you to explain what this session here is all about, and now without further ado, I want to draw our attention to the guests of today's panel because, of course, like in many other sessions here at the IGF, it will be the panelists bringing their perspectives here now, and I'm really happy to announce our panelists.
My understanding is that Chrissy, all of them are connected online? Right?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: That's correct. Yeah.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Super. Then it's really my pleasure to introduce Dr. Permanent secretary of ICT and national guidance in Uganda, you are most welcome. Then I would like to introduce Mr. Anir Choudhury policy advisor Aspire to Innovate A2i program, Cabinet Division, ICT Division Government of Bangladesh and UNDP Bangladesh and great to have you here.
Then I would like to introduce Bineta Diop Directorate of science and technology in Sierra Leone and Gautham Ravichander head of strategy EGovernment Foundation in India. Freight to have you all here and thank you all for joining. We will now hear from the guests and panelists about their experience in their respective countries about how digital public goods and infrastructure are being used, and yeah, we will also certainly hear some of the experiences and lessons learned.
So, over to you, Dr. Aminah Zawedde we are very much looking forward to your work.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Doctor Aminah, are you with us? She was and I don't see her anymore. We may have to jump to the next if we don't hear from her.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: No problem with that. If she's not available now I'm sure she will reconnect in a minute or two. Then so that we don't lose time, I'm happy then to announce Mr. Anir Choudhury again, very happy then to listen to your input. Please, over to you.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Thank you very much. Can you hear me?
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Yeah. We can hear you.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you very much for the opportunity, distinguished moderators. I guess you have two moderators today and panelists and audience offline and online.
So, the story of Digital Bangladesh in my country started about 14 years ago, almost to date. It was announced in 2008 that a poor country, an LDC would become a digital economy by 2021, which is the 50th anniversary of the country's birth. So, when this announcement, this very bold ambitious and some would even say outrageous announcement that was made by the Prime Minister in 2008, we were a country with a per capita income of about just $650 per year.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Dear colleague. I hate to interrupt but maybe get a little closer to the microphone because we have some struggle to properly understand what you're saying.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Can you hear me now better?
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: A little bit better.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Should I use a microphone perhaps? I don't know why it's not working.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: I think we can hear you now.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Okay. I'll get closer. So, I don't know how much you were able to hear but basically, I was saying that in the last 14 years since our Honorable Prime Minister announced the concept of Digital Bangladesh, we made actually significant progress since that time of a country with $650 per capita with Internet penetration of less than 1% at the time. In terms of digital service delivery, we probably had less than 10 public services, 10 government services available online. So that's where we started from, so some would even say that the announcement or the proclamation, the call by the Prime Minister to become a digital nation by 2021 the 50th anniversary of the country's birth would even be considered outrageous.
But what this proclamation, the Digital Bangladesh Proclamation did is unify the entire country, public and private sector to support the government, to make a huge leap. So fast‑forward to 2022 to today of about 14 years, we see over 65% Internet penetration in the country, and about 1700 services that are delivered electronically as opposed to less than 1013 or 14 years (a). We reduced delivering 4 billion to millions of citizens over the last decade or so, saved citizens about 12 billion days in terms of time, 16 billion dollars in terms of cost, and 7.5 billion visits have been eliminated in terms of number of trips that people have to make to access services, so it's a significant cost reduction and time reduction and hassle reduction by digitizing services.
Can you still hear me properly, just want to check?
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Yes. We hear you very well. Thank you.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Wonderful. So, let me now talk about digital public goods, and why we became interested in that. So, over the last decade or so, we have actually created a lot of digital goods, not digital public goods, but digital goods. Recently in the last two or three years we started realizing that there are a lot of Open-Source components out there, and some of which we have even been using. The largest digital public good being used by Ministry of Health is the DHIS2 system supported by the University of Norway and that is used by many countries, so arguably Bangladesh is the largest implementation of DHIS2 in the world, which has millions of data from patients, it actually provides daily update of patient visits to the 14,000 plus community clinics that we have around the country, so in terms of routine health data tracking and aggregation of data by gender, by geographic location, even doing some forecasting work, we actually use this quite extensively.
Recently, we also piloted open CRVS, civil registration and vital statistics for birth registration. It hasn't been scaled up, but this was also an important component that we looked at.
Now, this gave us confidence that the digital public goods are going to be useful for a number of reasons. One, it actually cuts down the time to deployment of a new service when we take it from analogue to digital. So, in terms of digital progress, digitization effort, digital public goods can cut down time and cost, so that's a very important aspect.
In terms of the second importance that we have seen, it's that there is a large community of practice, a large community of technologies, practitioners around the world that can support us on digital public goods. But having said that, unless there is a community around a particular DPD, it's difficult to actually adopt something and fail and not get the support, so as we talk about DPGs, we also have to talk about what particular DPG is being supported by the strong community of practitioners and technologists so that we can have our questions answered, problems supported, fixed and all addressed at the right time.
The third important thing that we're also looking at is the issue of system integration. So, we have developed, as I mentioned, a large number of digital goods in the country, and we have adopted a small number of DPGs, Digital Public Goods in the country. Now, what we see is that when we are trying to build new systems or modify older systems, the system integrators, the software companies who actually develop these, and from my organization a2i, but it's a government program supported by donors and we don't build anything within the team. We actually outsource everything to the private sector. So, when the system integrators and technology companies try to adopt a DPG, they always look for the right documentation, the right type of code, and the right type of supporting system. Again, as I mention, the second point that I just talked about, is that unless there is a supportive ecosystem, it's difficult for the system integrators to adopt something, so that's something that we I think should really talk about.
And the last thing I want to point out with a lot of, I think, confidence and pride really, is that Bangladesh has started becoming a contributor to DPGs, so we have ‑‑ we've been working very closely with GovStack and with the DPG Alliance and obviously UNDP is part of a2i and supported a2i since the beginning and UNDP has been very active in the DPG ecosystem development for Sustainable Development Goals and for development targets as well.
So, we have contributed to two DPGs. One is called a shop, e‑commerce aggregation platform that has not only been used in Bangladesh, but in several other countries right now that are using this such as Yemen and Turkiye, which are using this e‑commerce aggregation platform from Bangladesh by ‑‑ because we have turned that into DPG.
The second DPG that we have actually created is called National Intelligence for Skills Education, entrepreneurship that. Is a skills management platform that is being used in several countries and used in Bangladesh and we're able to turn that into DPG. Recently there was a big conference, online conference actually, where Bill Gates and another from India father of Indian ID system were there and our ICT minister was there who actually endorsed the DPG charter for Bangladesh, and also joining the global movement towards adopting DPGs and contributing to the DPG ecosystem. I'll stop there and maybe contribute some later on. Thank you.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Okay. Wonderful, Anir. I really like the input and input on business cases from DPGs and also on some of those enabling factors and the communities around the digital public goods.
Thank you so much. So, I hope that Dr. Aminah, are you back here on the call?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Not yet. We are still working on it.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: You are still working on it. There is no problem with that. We have also some technical issues here, so actually we can see right now, but as we have still a good connection in audio‑wise, I think we can just continue with our conversation.
So then over to you, Ms. Bineta Diop. Please share with us your take and your insights from your country, please.
>> BINETA DIOP: Good afternoon, all. I hope you can hear me clearly. Good afternoon, honorable ministers and distinguished moderators and guests. It is an honor to be part of today's event to speak about Sierra Leone and expressing commitment to advancing digital public goods through the Digital Public Goods Charter. We believe digital transformation is the key to unlocking sustainable value in our economies and societies. We are excited about the opportunity to promote dialogue about digitizing our processes and embedding sustainability into the heart of our systems so that we can create a new era of seeing growth.
Sierra Leone has experienced the transformative benefits of Open-Source solutions during perioded of crisis. Initially in 2014 during the Ebola epidemic with the Ebola payments program now open G2P to the public and in 2020 in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
In 2018, as we embarked on our digital transformation journey, we realized that beyond recovery, these benefits gained in times of strive can be spread across other interventions as drivers that can accelerate our transformation and sustainable development.
Digital public goods are currently being deployed across multiple sectors as supporting and focal tools. Beyond recovery, these benefits gained in times of strife, have been spread across interventions, and it's an opportunity for Sierra Leone and other communities like ours to move from being buyers to creators and leaders of our digital transformation, as well as global digital cooperation.
A notable example of one such tool that has tremendously provided positive effects for the citizens of our country is a Result Checker App that we built in collaboration with the UNICEF Sierra Leone and Ministry of basic and secondary education. By implementing this tool, Sierra Leone was able to save the citizens a collective of 1.94‑million dollars last year alone through the government services platform which uses U.S. D and SMS for service delivery.
This particular program allowed parents, students, and children to check their national scores, a process that previously incurred a fee of $60. Total usage currently for the tool is 7 million users. This tool was deployed with the aim of shifting the administrative and financial burden of the national exam scores from the citizens. We also prioritized the need to build capacity to get, implement and maintain DPGs or DPI solutions. From this we embedded literacy into the curriculum from primary or foundational level all the way up to tertiary to create a workforce to build robust digital solutions and competitive markets. W with partners to provide access through learning programs like passport with and digital hubs across the country and pilot phase that plans to expand and project giga in connecting schools to the Internet.
As we continue to created, adapt, and implement in Sierra we pledge solutions, learnings, and best practices to pave the way for other countries to raise to their transformation.
We also emphasize and realize the importance of having the right local talent or skills to carry this transformation forward, and we'll continue to do so in partnership ‑‑ in line with our partners to build an ecosystem of vendors and implementers to create and maintain these tools. Thank you.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Thank you very much, Bineta. Very impressive. Again, Chrissy, is the Permanent Secretary from Uganda connected to the call?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: I believe she's still working on it. Let's go one more.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Okay. Hopefully. We have one more. Then Gautham, please, over to you and looking forward to hearing from you, please.
>> GAUTHAM RAVICHANDER: Thank you, distinguished guests, moderators, and everyone else who has joined online today. I represent a nonprofit building what we know building public goods and supporting the creation of Digital Public Infrastructure by governments in India for the past 19 years and globally for the past 2 years. Creators and endorsers of Open Source for gap tech for a while now primarily because in our experience, Open Source helps governments maintain strategic control over the systems and hence sovereignty, but as because easier for governments and ecosystems to adopt and adapt to their needs.
Over the past 6 years we doubled down on commitment to help more governments leverage Open Source. To this end we have built a scalable and composable government platform called Digit that can address the myriad of needs. But we've also worked simultaneously to cultivate a market ecosystem that can support governments in implementing digit, and this as you will call from my colleagues from Bangladesh, it's a critical requirement when for governments who need reliable market‑based support to implement as less communities backed digital public goods.
As nonprofit we also advise governments on digital transformation strategies for different sectors. India national global digital mission, over 1,000 cities in India already live on Digit and remaining 3700 plus cities coming online by 2026.
The numbers are good. But for me, however, the magic of Digit impact was when the luxury, a young community in small town in South India drags me and my colleague by the hand to a stormwater drain that got cleaned because of a complaint she personally raised on behalf of the community and that cleaning reduced the incidence in the neighborhood and this is the magic of DPIs for us, that the fact that citizens can get connected to and expect from governments and societies.
The challenges we are solving for are faced by many countries around the world. We believe that DPDs that help DPLs to get established with fast‑track improvements in government and public services, which ultimately should lead to a better quality of life for all. Our interest is to have a both sense of responsibility that got reinforced by COVID where digital work helped a lot of governments around the world combat the pandemic, but as the shared impact that COVID has created for all of us, has led to a sense of shared possibility that we've come together. So, we are very happy to endorse the DPD charter, it's a great example of initiative that can bring diverse stakeholders together, and we have sought and received the endorsement of our board to support 30 countries by 2030 in journey toward achieving the SDGs and this is our primarily pledge toward the gender. Thank you, Axel and Chrissy, back to you.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: I am still ‑‑ well, I do actually see that Brandy joined the call. Is the Permanent Secretary ready to join us?
>> BRANDY: She has been trying to log in but having trouble, but I have been able to so I was wondering if we can give her a minute.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Yes, Axel, do you think we can maybe do some of the ‑‑ start with the questions while we wait?
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Yep. Absolutely. I think the Permanent Secretary can just give me a signal that she's ready, then I think we can immediately get her in.
Okay, so super. Then, yeah, let us have a round of questions now and we can, I think, already start with a more open discussion. We have the audience here. We have people alleges connected online and really, really ready to receive questions and of course I would have a second round for panelists asking again in particular of those who told us story or stories from respective countries on to ‑‑ and the question would be to elaborate a little bit more on actually barriers and obstacles and how they managed to overcome some of those. In many international discussions, we learn or at least we hear that some people really see the challenges and do not manage to overcome some of those, and of course I would assume that the reforms that you have explained are only partly really technical or technological challenges, but rather broader governmental institutional change or challenges, and really would concern the question as to how reform institutions ‑‑ further.
Maybe with this question, we can start again with you, Anir, and maybe you can take it up and give us some more insights, please.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: Axel, thank you. I got a microphone, is it better than before.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Now it's perfect. Thank you.
>> ANIR CHOWDHURY: I'll continue from where I finished up and also my colleague from Sierra Leone, her experience with G2P, social significant software. In Bangladesh we also digitized our entire social protection scheme. We have almost 25‑million people under social protection, and for decades and decades, obviously the support was through cash.
And we know that about 30% cash was actually outside of the system and so at least 70% reached the beneficiaries. So, when we introduced digitization there and now, we're actually moving towards digital public goods there as well, we haven't done it fully, but the process has started, and we're looking at Open-Source options for IDs to do EKYC, know your customer electronically, and supporting these 25‑million people, so that work started and we're actually moving toward that.
That has saved us millions in terms of leakage, so in terms of we have not done a full evaluation of how much we saved, but we can easily see we saved in terms of TCV, a metric that we used in Bangladesh to measure inefficient public service delivery, time, and number of visits in the TCV and digitization is a way to reduce TCV, and we've seen that, public service delivery for social protection, benefits delivery with digitization as well.
During COVID, because we needed to deploy new digital services very, very quickly, we actually resorted to digital public goods quite a bit more than other teams because timeframe was very short and we actually needed to deploy in a matter of weeks rather than a matter of months or matter of quarters.
And, again, DPGs actually played a very important role during COVID, so just like the colleague from Sierra Leone, the Ebola, crisis. The COVID crisis and many natural disasters that we have in Bangladesh every year, help us to deploy, so DPGs help us deploy new digital solutions there.
In terms of what we had to do to overcome barriers and overcome, I guess obstacles, one obstacle was obviously understanding DPGs, what DPGs fit what problems. So obviously DFGs come as shared solutions to shared problems across nations, across geographies, but taking a DPG from a list of DPGs, and for instance GovStack has a repository of DPGs and DPG Alliance also has one. UNDP is starting to put together a catalog of development solutions, digital development solutions called Digital X, so that's also a catalog of DPGs.
The question comes in, given a problem, a specific development problem, whether It's social safety net digitization or getting specific information for farmers, or improving quality of education, or improving how fisheries are done using IoT, Internet of Things sensors, so everywhere you actually have one or more DPGs at play. So, two important questions come. One is which questions to pick and that's a question for technologies and policymakers and that's where I think we need to work together quite a bit more in terms of educating other DPG creators about cataloging things more meaningfully and providing some guidance to the adopters, the technologists and policymakers that actually pick up DPGs and probably provide more awareness and education around that.
The second issue I think I talked a little bit more but wanted to go deeper now that I have the opportunity, is to educate our system integrators. And this is a discussion I had with CV, a code develop from in Washington DC, so I had a discussion during the General Assembly the big DPG session where Bill Gates was there and UNDP and several ministers from developing nations talking about how CDP is helping leapfrog and one of the things that I discussed with is the issue of creating knowledge and technical support system for hundreds of system integrators around the world, so there I think we need to create more educational content, more guidance, mentorship across the world. And the code develop is actually focusing on doing that. UNDP as development practical organization with 170 country offices in 170 countries, also is looking at DPGs and type 2 Digital Public Infrastructure because DPGs form a component of DPI, so when we talk about DPGs often, we don't talk about the other components of Digital Public Infrastructure which is also important, so where telecos play a role, where non‑software types of infrastructure also plays a role, so there even UNDP is also doing quite a bit of coordination.
So, I think the shared problems, DPGs have shared solutions and shared knowledge by all of these development practitioners and this dialogue we're having today, this seminar I think will contribute to developing further awareness and further, I think knowledge about how DPGs can really help and how to adopt DPGs to solve specific development problems. Thank you.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Super. I think this was a very interesting example and interesting stories that you have to share. Thank you so much. Again, let me try to call up on Aminah from Uganda. Have you managed to enter the call now, please.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: I do not believe we have anyone from Uganda.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: All right. Maybe we have to give up here now and just proceed here. All right. So, it's a pity, but there seems to be really technical challenges. Okay. Then I think over to you Bineta. I think you have shared already your examples and your success story, I would say. Digging now again a little bit deeper into, you know, those obstacles and challenges. It would be great if you could share some more insights from Sierra Leone. Please.
>> BINETA DIOP: Thank you. So, I think two of the challenges, I think, that we faced or that I was ‑‑ that I highlighted earlier on, one of them being I think at the top is the mindset. (audio fluctuating).
We quickly realized that, you know ‑‑ (audio dropping).
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Bineta, I'm sorry, I think the connection doesn't work so effectively right now. We can hardly hear you. Maybe I don't know whether you can change anything on your side? Whether the technicians would have a solution to that? Bineta, can you hear me now? Maybe you try it again?
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Okay. So, they are gone. All right.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: The rest of us are here.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: You can still hear us, Chrissy? We can't see you now, and then I couldn't get any audio response. Okay. Then I think we are a bit sorry that Bineta, I think we could hardly understand her and I think now we lost her for some reason.
I think now then it's time for you, Gautham, to elaborate a little bit on your experiences again. I think you have mentioned already the importance you attach to the DP charter; you have mentioned some reasons why you promote this idea. Maybe can you elaborate a little bit more on how you look at it and also what kind of recommendations you would have for this international discourse now, given the experiences you have made in your country and in other countries as well. Over and back to you, Gautham.
>> GAUTHAM RAVICHANDER: Thank you, Axel. I think the key to really achieving the digital confirmation is not necessarily the technology space but so much in the human space, right. We found that committed leadership with the focus on creating the policy support dedicated budget lines and institutional structures are key to achieving that kind of impact at scale.
Otherwise, one falls into the element of one-time interventions that fall apart once a champion is gone, and what we really need to achieve is a transition to a digital functioning or run time.
The DPG Charter creates that framework for us, right. It spans finance, it looks at design, development, deployment, learning, advocacy, all of these that are charter brings together can help governments and markets build the capacity needed to sustainably implement and self‑manage Digital Public Infrastructures.
But what is important to translate all of this into success is to establish, so you heard the story from Bangladesh, similar story there in India as well, and also need digital transformation blueprint which aligns stakeholders across governments, Civil Society, markets to make progress. It's important to ensure that these effects of Digital Public Infrastructures follow time. Today for example we talk about the success story of India, but a lot of the investments and the initiatives for the started back in 2009 and now constantly building on top of each other, so setting those goals and setting those and creating the purpose for institutions and staffing with a good combination of both public sector and private sector talent to be able to execute these initiatives well is important.
Finally, I also say it's quite easy to get into confrontational engagements so sometimes governments don't trust and Civil Society doesn't trust government, the contracting process, so building common dialogue where we are able to align in a way that focuses on our operating models as different entities, but as work towards a common goal is important; otherwise, we find that there is a lot of friction that gets created at the human level that prevents the transformation from happening.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: All right. Thank you, Gautham. Again, very informative and interesting and also, I think some interesting practical insights of what you have mentioned.
Okay, dear participants here now in the room or online, Chrissy, I have seen there was also some conversations going on in the call already, maybe you want to share some of those questions maybe with the audience here so that we understand what was under debate in the virtual room here? But I'm also inviting now the colleagues here to come up with questions or remarks and would be a good opportunity.
We have one question here and then Chrissy maybe over to you to reflect on the discussions going on. Please.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, my name is Kristen from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway and we have been a supporter of the Digital Public Goods Alliance since 2018. We have, of course, endorsed the principles and the charter, but my question is related to, you know, the principles and the criterias for a solution to be accepted as digital public good. Have you or do you encounter some resistance in certain corners to the charter and the principles that you have in the Digital Public Goods Alliance? I know that we have a very good process of vet candidates in the register for the digital public goods alliance, but there are also examples of nominations that have tried to bypass some of the criteria and principles but it's always been detected, so yeah. That's my question, actually. Where are the bottlenecks and where is the resistance to the charter and the principles?
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: That's a very interesting question. I think it's really about the reality check here and practical experiences. Before we invite the panelists for share their thoughts on this question, and maybe Chrissy you can also comment on this. Was there any other question from the virtual side here, from our colleagues being connected online?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: No questions online really. We were just talking about, you know, if DPGs can, you know, be created by governments or technologists, you know, in Open-Source communities, so I think the agreement was that although they're most often created by others and adopted by governments, there is a growing movement towards having governments actually create DPGs, so having parts of their own software that already work well be spun off as DPGs. But I think we are in agreement. I'm happy to jump in to the question from Norway, who has been one of our key supporters to just say, you know, I think one of the challenges ‑‑ the resistance to the charter has been, you know, really some of the challenges that we've talked about that in a lot of ways there is not the robust ecosystem that we need quite yet for DPGs to really be truly sustainable as one of the panelists mentioned to make sure that your questions or questions can be answered and bugs can be fixed. We want to make it very clear that we're not pushing digital public goods when they're not appropriate, but trying to fix some of those challenges so that these softwares for all of their benefits become increasingly useful, so just speaking, that's why we really try to make it a government choice and making sure governments have a viable option. Recognizing that there is no government sitting there without any digital systems, so no one and no country is going to just only have Open Source at least in the short term, so having more of a conversation about how we have DPGs really integrate and become interoperable with other parts of government infrastructure that may be implemented by more proprietary companies, so really not an either or but how can we come up with a comprehensive solution that works for each government and really promote this is idea of open, safe, and inclusive Digital Public Infrastructure.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Yeah. Thank you so much. Is there any comment on this question from Norway, any idea from the other panelists that I would want to say now?
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: I can see that Sierra Leone had an answer as well.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Okay. Please, over to you.
>> CHRISSY MARTIN MEIER: Also, the Permanent Secretary although we're in the last few minutes, has been able to join us, so maybe she could say a few last remarks, if that is acceptable.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: That would be very important, so please first back to you, I think Bineta, you wanted to share some more thoughts and then I think we should spend some time for the Permanent Secretary from Uganda. Thank you.
>> BINETA DIOP: Hello? I hope can you hear me better now.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Much better.
>> BINETA DIOP: Thank you. Yeah. I was following up from the last question about some of the challenges that we faced and how we were able to overcome them. So two of the challenges I would like to highlight that other colleagues or panelists touched on was, you know, initially the top of the board is the understanding of DPG, the concept of DPG, you know, combating that mindset or how it exists around Open Source solutions, and you know despite the early gains we've had from Open Source solutions and enable the crisis in 2014 and through COVID, we still realize that there is a gap in terms of, you know, people brought in, first that they understand what they mean and what benefits they bring.
So, I think it's a work in progress and I think that's a very important part of any digital transformation journey is getting the right people to drive it forward. We set up digital public goods Sierra Leone, a body across collaboration public and private sector on DPGs on global scale but just here nationally to sort of foster national collaboration and promoting the DPG concept and getting into the communities and getting people to understand what they are and how we can create an enabling environment for it to thrive.
Secondly, we've also noticed that, you know, there is a lack of talent for the right skills or market or workforce that are able to implement and also maintain these systems, and to that as mentioned early on in the introduction, we're working closely with the Ministry of Education from primary schools, universities, setting up labs providing safe spaces where we can provide programs that will cultivate very early on critical thinking, or you know adopting innovative mindsets and sort of changing our approach to solutions.
So those are some of the two, I guess, points that I wanted to add on how we sort of are combating or working on some of these challenges be that we continue to face in our transformation. Thank you.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Bineta, super that you managed to reconnect to the call. I think now we have really the full picture and I'm very happy. And now, finally, over to you, Dr. Aminah Zawedde, Permanent Secretary from Uganda. I hope you can hear us now, and then we are absolutely ready then to listen to your experiences. Unfortunately, there is only a few minutes left, but I think we are very curious to learn what you have to say. Over to you.
>> AMINAH ZAWEDDE: Thank you very much. I hope you can hear me clearly.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Very clearly.
>> AMINAH ZAWEDDE: Apologies for logging on late. I had technological challenges. Since we're short of time, I'm just going to give you an overview of what Uganda's perspective is towards a digital public goods. First of all, we are so ambitious towards this agenda of sharing digital public goods or infrastructure because it is one of the key pillars that we believe will accelerate digital transformation.
We have, as a country, a vision that we call Digital Uganda Vision 2040, and we also have a national development plan that aims at empowering citizens to strive to achieve the goals of universal inclusion in data transformation or digital transformation as well as sustainable approach to ensuring that, you know, we leave no one behind when it comes to connecting all the unconnected people in the country.
So, by joining The Digital Public Goods Alliance, the Government of Uganda endorsed the vision described in the digital public goods charter, and our country is already fast‑tracking the development of digital solutions through Open Source and collaboration with partners and various innovators within the country because we believe in creating local content and being able to use our own innovators because 70% of our population are youth, so if they're the ones developing the solutions, we need for our challenges and problems and these are solutions that would be cost effective and easy to maintain as well as sustainable.
One of the solutions we have that we have shared publicly is what we call the UG Hub, and this is an Open-Source application that we use as our central data integration platform. It's a way to integrate government services, break down, siloes in accessibility and availability of government services and solutions and eases the administrative burden on the citizens.
So, the UG Hub is built on a robust Open Source WS02 technology and the decision to make this UG Hub Open Source allows us to have a sustainable solution that is easy to improve upon, and is also adaptable to our unique needs.
This data exchange platform was officially launched on September 30th last year in 2021. And we currently have 93 entities or institutions that have been onboarded and are utilizing the system. Among the 93, we have 40 from the public sector and 53 from the private sector. And since January of this year, the total number of transactions through this data exchange platform from both the public and private sector is approximately 26 million. Training and capacity building sessions have been conducted to drive uptake of the service among 200 ministries, departments, agencies, small and medium enterprises, as well as innovators through their startup companies.
I'll give you just a few examples of the e‑government services that are being currently provided on this platform. We have citizen identification and validation, employee validation, government employee validation, tax payment services, SMS gateway notification services, procurement invoice generation services, company registration or business registration verification, as well as trading license verification.
Of course, we have faced challenges, some challenges along the way or barriers that include ‑‑ I'm going to list about three of them in the interest of time. Some of our ministries, departments, and agencies have limited funding resources to facilitate the development of APIs that enable them to integrate with the platform. When we don't have these application program interfaces, then it becomes difficult for some of these entities to do the sharing of this public good.
We also have a challenge of mindset change and most of these entities still believe in working in silos so we have to do a lot of awareness creation or change management around leadership to appreciate the concept of utilizing the data exchange platform.
We also have limitations in in‑house technology skill sets to develop these applications, so we rely a lot on innovators as well as expertise from development partners that can support us on development of these APIs which sometimes comes as expensive or not sustainable in times of, you know, limited partnerships that we could have on these.
To what I'm trying to answer some of the questions that came up before I joined. Who have we brought on board or who should we bring on board in this journey of digital public infrastructure sharing. We think it is for us to have the Ministry of Finance on board because if the Ministry of Finance understands the importance of infrastructure sharing, then it should be able to prioritize some of its funding in this area. We also have ministry should bring the Ministry of Education on board because they have to, if we say people have limbed skillsets in development of APIs, then this should be implemented in the curriculum for us to be able to have a feeding into the industry. But we have also strengthened relationships and collaborations between academia, industry, government, private sector, and development partners, which is key for us in creating this ecosystem where the digital public goods infrastructure as opposed to being understood and appreciated.
With these few words of submission, I beg to give the position of Uganda as that currently in terms of digital public goods.
>> AXEL KLAPHAKE: Super. I'm so happy, actually, that you managed to work on your connection here to the call. I think it was very important to have this example. I think you have really managed to add some very important points at that we haven't heard before. Mine now is very simple because time is over, and I really want to thank all of you the panelists for really great contributions. I thank also the participants in the room and also online for the energy and openness to listen and to actively contribute to the debate. You know, what I have heard from you, I think it's very interesting and very encouraging actually, because what we hear is that these hurdles and obstacles, you have presented so many ideas and examples of how the obstacles can be overcome and I think that was a very powerful discussion.
Secondly, I'm really impressed to see the idea of DPGs enters really the core services of the governments, and I found really the example of social protection, for example, from Bangladesh super interesting story that is really worth to be spread further. Lastly, I think all of this concept that you have mentioned, all of the panelists, it is so important to ensure international exchange on experiences, and this is what all of this session here was about today. Thank you very much for joining and enjoy the rest of the week. Thank you. Thank you, Chrissy, for the co‑moderation. Bye‑bye.