The collaboration starts from an understanding of the status quo of e-governance in the Pacific region. Based on previous work of e-Governance Academy with more than 130 countries, Astok highlights a situation that is very similar to other developing nations in Africa, Caribbean and elsewhere. “Data is more or less in a digital format, registries are also in place. But well, the accuracy and sophistication of the databases is another topic,” Astok warns.
From a first survey on e-governance maturity, it emerged how the lines of action for a development roadmap could be divided in three, broad thematic areas:
- Telecommunication infrastructure;
- Legal and regulatory frameworks; and
- The final implementation of e-governance services.
“There are institutional and cultural barriers to data exchange, also due to a generally siloed distribution of tasks and duties in public agencies. Only a few countries represent exceptions to the rule, with government Chief Information Officers (CIO) already in place, as well as pretty good policy documents and strategies. However, Internet connectivity is the huge infrastructural issue in the Pacific area, both at the national and international levels,” Astok outlines.
“There’s the need for a single numeric identifier for people and businesses, and an understanding of which services prioritize.”
In general, these countries present issues of missing e-government architecture. “There’s the need for a single numeric identifier for people and businesses, and an understanding of which services prioritize. But we know that collecting basic population data in insular countries can be quite a pain. Communicating with government officials and banks, in areas where crossing the seas is necessary to reach a local office, can be costly and risky. So, if matters of population management represent the most basic step, developing the business environment is definitely the second main focus area,” Astok highlights.