The current COVID-19 pandemic calls for agile and scientific solutions of government by leveraging ICTs and digital government for innovations. Many countries have effectively deployed ICT and digital government tools for health and wellbeing support, ensuring business continuity, and delivering uninterrupted digital services. Sharing of strategies, innovative cases, and lessons learned and fostering cooperation among countries is crucial for combating COVID-19.
In Africa, as of 06:00 AM (GMT +1) on 02 June 2020, 54 countries have been affected by the virus with 150,610 cumulative cases and 4,281 reported deaths1. African governments are exploring every means to leverage ICT and digital government for innovative solutions to address COVID-19, ranging from sharing information, engaging people, establishing effective multi-stakeholder partnership, to applying frontier technologies to increase the resilience of healthcare. As in other regions, innovation plays a key role in Africa in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. For example, in Kenya, the information on COVID-19 is published on the Open Government portal; in Ethiopia, an information-sharing platform has been created to share guidance on the virus; and in South Africa and many other African countries, the government has a designated SNS webpage.
ICT and digital government have also significantly contributed to effective public governance in combatting COVID-19 in African countries, especially for national-local coordination and engagement of all stakeholders, through timely data and information collection and sharing across all levels of government.
- introduce national experiences in leveraging ICT and digital government to address COVID-19, including effective approaches and strategies, successes as well as challenges faced by governments from selected countries such as China, Estonia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and South Africa;
- equip governments and other relevant stakeholders with the knowledge on how to leverage digital technologies and digital government tools, especially open government, big data and data analytics, and frontier technologies for responding to COVID-19 – depending on country-specific contexts;
- share experiences on how to effectively address the constraints of backward infrastructure and the digital divide;
- exchange effective strategies and good practices in building partnership with other stakeholders especially vulnerable groups in jointly designing and deploying digital government tools for delivering essential public services and emergency economic and financial assistance; and
- facilitate partnerships at the regional and global levels including through North-South and South-South cooperation.
This Webinar will include a panel discussion followed by an open discussion session. It will run for one hour and thirty minutes. It will be conducted in English. The Webinar will be conducted using video conferencing tools such as Cisco WebEx.
The recordings and the presentations will be posted on the website after the conclusion of the Webinar. And the follow-up actions, including key recommendations and knowledge products, will be disseminated through the UN DESA website.
The target audience of the 2nd Capacity Development Webinar for Africa countries includes government officials who are in charge of ICT and digital government, and government officials responsible for coordinating and leading the national efforts to fight the COVID-19. The Webinar Series also intends to involve ICT businesses, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, health and quarantine experts, and regional/international organizations that are actively engaged in exploring and experimenting with innovative solutions to address the COVID-19 crisis.
The Webinar Series aims to strengthen effective governance and catalyze innovative solutions by leveraging ICT and digital government through enhanced stakeholder engagement with all hands-on deck to fight the COVID-19. The second webinar on responses from Africa will support countries’ efforts in strengthening capacities to: a) design mechanisms to include vulnerable groups in essential service delivery and policy-making; b) protect people’s privacy and sensitive data, particularly vis a vis the unintended consequences of the uses of technologies; c) increase resilience of health care systems; and d) promote further investments in innovative technologies (i.e. AI, blockchains, robotics and drones). The Webinar Series will result in a) a compendium of national innovative experience on readiness and responses to COVID-19; b) e-participation
activities (i.e. hackathons), effective multi-partnership at all levels and c) information sharing through the UN DESA website and other means.
Key questions to be addressed during the webinar
Challenges in leveraging ICT and digital government to address COVID-19 in Africa:
• What are the main challenges in leveraging ICT and digital government for the fight against COVID-19 in Africa?
Opportunities, strategies and innovative practices in using digital technologies to deliver services:
• How can governments effectively deploy digital government tools such as telemedicine and telehealth driven by frontier technologies, e.g. AI, drones, robotics and blockchains, to deliver healthcare services and protect health workers?
• What are the roles of frontier technologies in fighting the COVID-19, ranging from quick diagnosis, contact tracing, delivering medical services, developing vaccines to producing medical supplies such as through 3-D printing?
• What effective measures can be taken to ensure business continuity for digital services due to the massive surge in online traffic and the possible crashes and slowdowns?
• How can local government be empowered with digital capacities and digital government tools for local solutions?
Challenges and Opportunities of Data Governance in Addressing COVID-19:
• What approaches are effective in coordinating and streamlining the data and information collection, analysis and dissemination across government departments and between national and local governments?
• How can big data analytics and other technologies be used (such as phone’s short-distance Bluetooth-based networking signals) for contact tracing and tracking the spread of the disease?
• How can personal data and privacy be protected? What are some examples of data governance schemes?
Strategies in Bridging the Digital Divide to Address COVID-19:
• What are some examples of effective strategies and innovative practices to include and engage vulnerable groups in policymaking and the delivery of essential public services?
• What strategies are effective in bridging the digital divide, i.e. between the rich and poor, the urban and rural, digitally literate and illiterate, in times of public health emergencies like the COVID-19 crisis?
Building Partnerships for Resilience:
• What are effective strategies for building partnerships with the ICT sector, private sector, academia, and civil society organizations for innovative solutions?
- 1 July 2020
- WebEx Event
- Contact Information
Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG)
UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
Mr. Juwang Zhu
Mr. Bokyun Shim
Head, UN Project Office on Governance (UNPOG)
Ms. Adriana Alberti
Chief, Programme Management and Capacity Development Unit
Ms. Mi Kyoung Park
Governance and Public Administration Officer
UNPOG/ DPIDG/UN DESA
Mr. Samuel Danaa
Associate Capacity Development Expert
UNPOG/ DPIDG/UN DESA
Ms. Hye Kyung (Shelley) Choi
Programme Management Assistant
UNPOG/ DPIDG/UN DESA