In the 2020 UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI) report, Pakistan was placed at 153rd spot among the total of 193 countries surveyed in the report. For Pakistan, it marks a decline in ranking, in contrast, with the report published in 2018 [148th].
Earlier, UN EGDI was the only measuring index for e-government development but now encompasses elements of digital government development of member nations by placing them across three different indicators including Online Services Index (OSI), Human Capital Index (HCI), and Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII).
Pakistan Ranks 153rd in E-Govt Development Index
This leads to a closer scrutinization of the state’s digital transformation roadmap and struggles to identify the underlying reasons for the decline in the 2020 report. The comprehensive viable solutions that can assist in enhancing Pakistan’s EGDI ranking and consequently improve citizens’ experience with the government via the utilization of technology, must also be explored.
Reasons for the Decline:
According to the report, a few factors that were the cause of the decline in Pakistan’s digital government development includes a fragmented and divided approach (not a united one), lack of enabling telecommunication infrastructure and low affordability, a wide gap in digital skills, cybersecurity, data privacy, mistrust, service design maturity, and comparatively less citizen participation.
Suggestions for the Future:
In addition to that, the report also indicates how our country can learn from the experiences of other countries to ramp up its digital government transformation. This includes,
Developing a national digital government strategy, devising an action plan for implementation of the road map, in place fundamental building blocks i.e digital identity, payment, data exchange platform, Set up a center of excellence for data and advanced analytics, devise a common governance framework i.e portfolio, programme and project assurance framework, digital information management, IT spend control, procurement, data and technology standards, shared and common systems, platforms, applications and digital infrastructure and centralised cross-government IT support.
Furthermore. the report suggests,
- Revamping of current telecom policy structure.
- Establishing public-private partnerships.
- Providing a flexible regulatory regime to investors and the business community in telecom services.
- Encourage innovative practices.
- Work towards data-driven policy and decision-making.
- Render public access facilities to tackle the accessibility-related digital divide.
- Devise a lifelong digital learning education policy and a comprehensive forward-looking national digital literacy strategy and plan to achieve a 100 percent digital literate nation.
- Prioritize marginalized (women, rural population, and older generation) communities.
- Establish a digital literacy awareness campaign.
- Launch a training program for citizens to increase digital literacy and enhancing the skills of government employees.
- Guarantee cybersecurity and data protection to safeguard against phishing attempts.
- Devise clear legislations and robust standards on data privacy.
- Security and cybercrime in line with global trends.
- Follow a citizen-centric approach.
- Develop service design capabilities at federal and provincial levels
- Devise a consistent digital design system which is consisted of tools, methodologies, templates, branding elements, guides, and principles.
The report also suggests setting up digital service standards to enable consistency and quality across services. Transforming organizational structure and mindset, developing a comprehensive national citizen participation and engagement strategy and plan. Launching effective user-friendly online participatory platforms and digital tools. These all steps will help in improving the digital landscape of the country.