The insights that emerged from the DRA in Guatemala underscored the importance of this first step assessment in the country’s digital transformation. They have helped to shape the following recommendations:
Adopt a sustainable DPI approach: Besides the technological component, DPI would encompass building robust governance to ensure safeguards are in place, and strengthening the local digital ecosystems on which the success of DPI implementation lies. These safeguards should involve incorporating gender responsive measures and ensuring it is built on a rights-based framework that promotes inclusivity and equitable access. Guatemala aspires to over time design a sustainable DPI, with immediate efforts focused on reinforcing its digital legal identification system; promoting digital payments; and constructing strong data exchange systems and interoperability frameworks.
Following through on this recommendation, Guatemala became a member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance – “a multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in, digital public goods". Open and interoperable, DPGs can help the country advance its digital development priorities, such as improving government efficiency by utilizing digital technology to boost productivity and quality in public service delivery, fostering digital inclusion to ensure equitable access to information and communication technologies, or developing digital payments. As one of the ‘first-mover’ countries of the 50-in-5 country-led advocacy campaign focused on advancing DPI, Guatemala is committed to designing, launching, and expanding at least one DPI initiative within the next five years.
Assess disparities to reduce connectivity gaps: Guatemala has a strong foundation for national connectivity, but some of the hurdles include the cost of fiber optic internet access, limited internet service providers, and a pronounced difference in the quality of services available in rural versus urban areas.
One idea put forward is the establishment of a National Broadband Plan (NBP), which sets objectives to guide broadband expansion and related policies. The Superintendency on Telecommunications of Guatemala is designing its National Digital Connectivity Plan to respond to the changes in regulation that occurred earlier in the year with the amended the General Telecommunications Law. Now, 75 percent of the revenue from frequency auctions will be channeled towards the Superintendency on Telecommunications and this substantial funding will provide internet to government institutions, prioritizing schools, hospitals, and local police stations. The National Digital Connectivity Plan will be a key instrument in outlining the allocation of funds raised from the auctions, representing a major opportunity to ensure a structured and effective deployment of resources for maximum impact in digital inclusion and bridging the digital divide.
Adopt a design thinking mindset focused on people: Digital transformation should revolve around people. It should resonate with their needs, experiences, and ambitions. A people-centred approach that champions participation, interaction, and user-centric design is paramount. From enabling better feedback to more effective evaluation of digital adoption, this approach will ultimately transform how a country goes about developing products, services and processes as part of its digital transformation.
The DRA insights and recommendations have catalyzed a national conversation on digital development. Following an internal presentation of the final DRA report to GAE, a public forum was organized. It brought together key stakeholders to discuss the results and design next steps, as well as rallying international development entities such as UNICEF, UNFPA, UNESCO, the EU, IDB, and the World Bank. The Digital Government Plan for 2021-2026 is looking to prioritize digital education by introducing training in digital literacy, business skills, and financial inclusion based on the needs and context of citizens, officials, and businesses.
In this swiftly advancing technological age, it is crucial to ensure that technology doesn't worsen existing inequalities. A whole-of-society approach to digital transformation provides countries with an inclusive blueprint to mold their digital trajectories. This ensures that all viewpoints are considered and prioritizes the inclusion of the most vulnerable. With Digital Readiness Assessments conducted by UNDP in more than 30 countries since 2020, it is interesting to observe how common some of the challenges are that countries face, as well as how shared solutions and learnings can be useful in getting them to the next stage of their digital transformation journeys. If you want to learn more about the DRA and how we might support your country’s digital development, get in touch with us: email@example.com