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Published: 18 October 2019

The future of government, citizens and public services in the digital economy

Dr Carla Bonina was the keynote academic for a high-level World Bank Seminar held over the summer at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC.

The seminar invited guest experts and practitioners from the governments, civil society and the private sector, including leaders from the government of Uruguay, Brazil, Singapore and Guyana, and an audience of 25 selected Bank staff and LAC counterparts.

Dr Bonina led the academic intervention, based on her current research and impact case on digital government transformation and open data. She addressed her keynote in three areas:

  • Digital Transformation and the need to radically change the way we think about it within governments; move away from automatization of old practices to reinvention of government services, and from big vendors to an ecosystem of GovTech local start-up
  • To leverage the opportunities: a strong civic society and civic technologists are moving the openness and digital agenda in the region, very much in collaboration with governments; 
  • Addressing the big risks: lack of digital leadership, digital literacy in governments, access to digital technology and data by the population and the increasing cybersecurity and ethical risks to maintain trust in government.

Dr Bonina commented:

“The Digital Transformation agenda is at centre of many Latin American governments, and governments need to rethink how they use technology to serve their citizens and business better, with more transparency and in more inclusive ways. I was thrilled to be the lead academic contributor to this high-level group of policymakers and World Bank staff to help crafting the next steps in this agenda for the region”.  

The discussions held in the lively session will inform the way the World Bank is planning its agenda for these themes in the region. A final reflection included remarks onto how the World Bank and the private sector can help governments to enable digital transformation in LAC.