A Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP and the Government of Moldova for accelerating the country’s digital transformation was signed on 6 October 2021.
The agreement envisages cooperation on several strategic directions, such as:
- development of a new strategy for country’s digital transformation.
- digital transformation of existing public services, including by involving of citizens, civil society, private sector, and academia.
- improvement of population’s digital knowledge and skills for an inclusive digital transformation.
- development of partnerships for innovation, access to expertise and good practices related to digital transformation.
- support provided by the UNDP for the National Advisory Committee for Digitalization.
“The Republic of Moldova has a historical opportunity to accelerate digital transformation by creating new opportunities and inclusion for all. A ‘whole-of-society’ approach to sustainable digital transformation is the lens through which UNDP Moldova starts to support the Government of the Republic of Moldova to develop a new vision for the country and accelerate meaningful engagement with citizens and private sector for faster development and uptake of digital technology and solutions,” stated Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Representative to the Republic of Moldova.
“The priorities of the Government of the Republic of Moldova in the field of digitalization have been established. We have a clear vision of the actions to be taken to modernize the public sector and facilitate the interaction of citizens and the business environment with state institutions. The partnership with UNDP Moldova will help us advance in the implementation of the digitalization agenda, for the benefit of the people and for the modernization of the country,” mentioned Iurie Țurcanu, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization.
The first step undertaken by UNDP in this context was carrying out the Digital Readiness Assessment, which emphasized the current challenges in the area and highlighted the benchmarks for crafting a new national digital strategy.
UNDP’s recommendations for each of these five pillars of the national evaluation are:
- Infrastructure. Implementation of the 5G network as a national priority, which needs development of the regulatory framework and relevant standards. It is necessary to conduct a study on expanding (and securing) remote access to high-speed Internet from home and removing cost barriers to connectivity, based on an inter-ministerial plan for such infrastructure’s development.
- Citizens. Citizens are the beneficiaries, but also the main pillar of the digital transformation process. They should be directly engaged in drafting the national strategy for digital competences’ development. At the same time, it is needed to develop the national strategy on protection of minors when accessing online services or platforms. To identify the systemic gaps, it is recommended to conduct a national evaluation of digital accessibility. Additionally, it is important to tackle the weaknesses in the digital area, highlighted by the pandemic crisis; to explore opportunities for digital transformation’s promotion, by encouraging and investing in STEM education, promoting entrepreneurship, supporting vulnerable groups, and ensuring access via mobile devices.
- Government. The Government is a vital pillar for accelerating digital transformation in Moldova, especially now, when a Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization was appointed. Hence, it is recommended to draft a national strategy for Moldova’s digital transformation for the next 7-10 years.
- Business community. It is necessary to create platforms for engaging local ICT sector (7% of the GDP) in the digital transformation of the society; to encourage ICT sector to develop digital solutions for key non-ICT sectors, such as agriculture and SMEs. At the same time, it is important to identify the barriers faced by companies from these sectors and to develop national support programs to harness their potential in adopting inclusive digital technologies, as well as to simplify e-commerce procedures.
- Whole-of-society. It is necessary to develop inter-sector opportunities, which directly and indirectly will increase the innovation level and will boost the entire society’s digitalization. It is also necessary to develop a national strategy for digital transformation focused on ICT sector’s involvement in the process, hence improving the innovation ecosystem of the society.