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Written on 23 Apr 2019

New Statesman: How GovTech can become a powerful development tool

Dr Tanya Filer has written an opinion piece in the New Statesman on the emerging value of GovTech in international development.

Photo by Babatunde Olajide on Unsplash

The piece follows the World Bank highlighting GovTech in its Spring Meeting, and the recent publication of her new report Thinking about GovTech, the world’s first guide on this nascent field.

She writes: “First, policymakers must build the foundations for GovTech, rather than attempting to leapfrog over them. As I argue in Thinking about GovTech, to reap the possible benefits of GovTech, policymakers must prioritise four core areas: developing core digital infrastructure; building robust cybersecurity systems and talent pipelines; ensuring universal internet access; and enabling universalism in access and use of online public services, including through accessibility and digital skills for all.

No developing or developed economy can claim to have fully addressed every area. But prioritising them is key to providing the conditions for a functional GovTech ecosystem that enjoys public support.”

In her piece Dr Filer highlighted examples of failure in development GovTech, such as the One Laptop Per Child scheme in rural Peru, and best practice, such as the Lagos-based GovLab.

She commented: "The emergent buzz around GovTech in international development settings is welcome. We must galvanise that energy to build the social and technical foundations for public-sector digitalisation, engage the SDGs, and develop local GovTech ecosystems sustained by strong and engaged talent pipelines. GovTech can be a robust vehicle for public value creation – if we build it that way."

Read the full article in NS Tech online.