Podcast 🎧 & blog: Core themes in 2023 and trends for 2024

20.12.2023 | Federico Plantera


And here we are, at the end-of-year appointment with Hannes Astok, Executive Director and Chairman of e-Governance Academy (eGA) to take a look back at what 2023 meant for governments worldwide.

But also, we reflect on what the year meant for eGA. Through our projects and activities, we have once again had the pleasure – and duty – to work with an impressive number of countries, cultures, and various digital government ecosystems. Data quality, cybersecurity, and digital identity have been key themes in 2023. Looking ahead, whether it is about catching up, consolidating, or advancing, 2024 sure sports interesting trends for digital transformation practitioners.


Core themes in digital governance for 2023

In 2023, digital governance focused mainly on practical and pressing issues. Data quality remained a central concern as governments recognised the critical role of accurate data in decision-making. This focus extended to information systems and data exchange, emphasising the need for reliable and efficient data management practices. Digital identity, too, emerged as a key topic, ensuring that services reach the right organisations or persons.

Cybersecurity was another major theme, acknowledged as a complex, ongoing challenge requiring daily attention and strategic planning. Astok noted the commitment of governments to this issue, signifying its transition from a peripheral to a central item on decision makers’ agendas. AI surely attracted interest for its potential in service delivery, but beware – we are not yet at the point of taking too bold ventures into it.

The reason, in a sense, is relatively straightforward. As Astok notes, 2023 was about striking a balance between concrete needs and futuristic aspirations. Prioritising topics and areas for intervention, in this context, is crucial. So, before jumping into AI-powered service delivery, there is more work to do. For the moment, the topic can be seen as a nice to have, compared to more essential and practical approaches.


All around the world, once again – a path of growth

What about us, though? We’ve had a good year, thanks for asking. Productive and with significant projects and accomplishments. In Ukraine, eGA made strides in developing online public services and establishing a Competence Center to assist various government entities in developing digital services. This initiative aimed to consolidate and share digital service development knowledge within Ukraine, but also eGA’s commitment to contribute significantly to the country’s digital strategy and transformation.

In Moldova and Western Balkan countries, eGA’s efforts centered around cybersecurity. The focus was not just on technical aspects but also on capacity building and legislative development. A takeaway was certainly the critical role of well-informed and skilled personnel in cybersecurity. It is a lot about human resources, in a way – but where human capital is scarce, governments may consider coming together to pool resources and face common challenges more effectively.

Projects in the Caribbean, and Mongolia, signal that digital identity is still a salient topic worldwide. Even in relatively remote places like Turks and Caicos, where eGA is and continues to work.

It seems natural, then, that the e-Governance Academy itself also went through a phase of growth, this year too. In headcount, turnover, projects worldwide. All in preparation to assist governments in tackling larger global and societal challenges.


e-Governance Conference 2024 and future expectations

And, of course, for the 9th time, 2023 saw digital digital government practitioners from all around the globe come together in Tallinn, for the e-Governance Conference. In 2024, the e-Governance Conference will take place in Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city and European Capital of Culture 2024, promising to uphold this tradition – offering a platform for experts from various strands of digital transformation to share experiences and insights.

Speaking of 2024, the focus is expected to continue on essential aspects of digital governance. The priority will likely be refining public services, enhancing data management, strengthening digital identity systems, and improving cybersecurity. While discussions around AI and its applications will persist, the emphasis should still not be diverted from foundational tasks necessary for effective digital governance, highlights Astok.

In retrospect, 2023 was a year of consolidating existing digital governance practices while exploring new frontiers. The e-Governance Academy’s role in facilitating these discussions and initiatives confirms its position in shaping the future of digital governance globally. As we enter 2024, the focus will likely remain on practical, impactful actions that drive progress and innovation in the field. All to ensure though, as always, that digital governance continues to evolve for the benefit of governments and citizens alike.


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