Broadband Commission’s ‘Digitalization Scorecard’ provides policy and regulatory guidance
Digitalization is critical for economic and social development, but countries, whether developed or developing, need to have the necessary policy and regulatory frameworks in place to enable digitalization. A new study launched today by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, through its Working Group chaired by Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri, supports countries to do just that. The Commission's Digitalization Scorecard presents a pilot study of policies and regulations for digital transformation, and launches a knowledge base of best practices for use by countries to inform their decision-making.
Policy-makers all over the world are grappling with how to balance and guide the path to digitalization – the integration of digital technologies into everyday life to bring greater benefits to societies. Some countries have advanced policies and regulations to enable digitalization more quickly than others. This provides the opportunity to identify and share knowledge on how digitalization has been facilitated most effectively.
The Digitalization Scorecard explores the experiences of six pilot countries representing a sample cross-section in terms of income, geography and population size – Colombia, Finland, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan and Singapore. It does so through an analysis of digitalization enablement in five key development sectors – agriculture, education, government, health and transport; and six "digital foundation" elements – digital leadership, digital literacy, cybersecurity, data protection, e-payment and cloud services.
The Broadband Commission's Co-Vice Chair Houlin Zhao said of the publication at its release today in Finland: "The Digitalization Scorecard is an excellent resource for policymakers and regulators around the world faced with difficult decisions in designing their path towards digitalization. This study provides the knowledge necessary for informed decision-making and will support cross-sectoral cooperation in implementing ICT regulations for a world of inclusive digital opportunities."
Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri said: "Nokia aims to be one of the core catalysts of the digital revolution. We want this report to spur thinking and creativity within governments and policymakers around the world, ultimately creating a positive policy environment that will drive further broadband uptake in areas like education, agriculture, healthcare, transportation and government. The benefits that digitalization can provide should not be delayed simply because current regulations and policies are not keeping up with the pace of innovation."
The study also outlines sector-specific policy findings and the following six key overall ones to guide countries as they embark and progress on their digitalization journey:
- Clear designation of a body responsible for digitalization interdepartmental collaboration
Governments should create a mechanism to establish cooperation across existing institutions. It is recommended to identify which are the best positioned entities (government departments or agencies) to lead large-scale digital transformation projects.
- Policy frameworks can enable responsible data sharing
Big data will help us find new cures for diseases, be better stewards of scarce resources and even optimize business processes. There is one precondition for this: moving from sensing, collecting and monitoring raw data to using analytics to create valuable insights and knowledge.
- Public funding can kick-start digitalization
There is a need in some cases for an initial amount of government funding to kick-start digitalization, such as in a particular sector or location.
- National strategies provide clarity of vision on digitalization's critical elements
An underlying and fit-for-purpose ICT and National Broadband infrastructure remains a precondition, but it is worth emphasizing that national strategies covering the Digital Economy Cyber-security or Smart Cities are equally important.
- Education and awareness raising are critical to implement digitalization policies
Beyond society-wide actions and campaigns aiming at spreading e-skills and improving digital literacy in society, it is important that governments consider dedicated initiatives to address sector-specific needs. Examples include raising the awareness of farmers about the benefits of digital solutions for agriculture, or targeting education and awareness-building for healthcare ecosystem players such as community health workers, physicians and pharmacists.
- There is no room for complacency in driving digitalization
For those countries high on the digitalization adoption curve, continued action is still required so digitalization initiatives continue to thrive and scale. For countries lower on the adoption curve, it is advised to focus on constructive policy and regulatory frameworks and appropriate governmental interventions to unleash digitalization at a faster pace.