Uruguay’s successful digital transformation story is built upon its digital agenda

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In 2000, only 10% of Uruguay population had access to internet, and broadband speed was much lower compared to developed nations. The challenge for Uruguay was increasing internet connectivity and improving its engagement with its citizens through e-government services. The government met the challenge by developing new digital policy and the digital agenda for Uruguay
(ADU). “Uruguay Digital” brings together effort of technologists, civil societies, private and public sectors, academia and diverse stakeholders for building country’s digital infrastructure. With due effort from all stakeholders, Uruguay has seen tremendous progress in telecommunication, fibre optic coverage and digital literacy. Every student attending public school in Uruguay owns a computer and internet connection today.

Having developed the infrastructure through policy change, Uruguay is now looking forward to digital transformation in its agenda of 2020. The transformation in digital society is planned keeping in mind – country’s strategic priorities and global goals in 2030. The agenda is structured on the basis of 4 pillars with clear objectives, commitment and specific goals.

“Uruguay has developed an ongoing digital policy, with an ecosystem that promotes and needs extensive stakeholder participation, requiring a solid strategy that provides guarantees of trust and security in order to make full use of its possibilities.”

Four pillars of Uruguay’s Digital Agenda

Social Policy Inclusion

Digital technology is fast changing and ever evolving area. People need to continuously up-skill themselves in this area or else shall be left behind creating a challenge of digital divide for the state. Government of Uruguay has plans in its digital agenda to bridge the digital divide. Low income retirees shall be provided with tablets, community development to snowball digital skill reach, training, curriculum development and building enough research infrastructure in ICT are some of the interventions that Uruguay shall take up.

Therefore, devising platform and information system for students, citizen health record, employment information and cultural activities are high on radar. These programs shall bring citizens on government digital platform without differentiating.

Sustainable Economic Development

Today digital technology has considerably disrupted the way goods & services are produced, distributed or consumed. Business’ interaction with its supplier, consumer, partners and government is fostered by Uruguay’s digital infrastructure. Uruguay’s “Digital Agenda” aims to continue advancing towards better and wider reach of digital infrastructure.

To that end, Uruguay plans to improve fibre to the home (FTTH), bandwidth and radio spectrum use. Firstly, these measures will improve digital coverage for small, medium and large enterprises and shall help economy at large scale. Secondly, with all this telecommunication and high-speed network infrastructure, Uruguay is also planning to set up low cost infrastructure for large data volume processing. National e-Commerce policy, government sponsored program along with building agricultural information society are some of the key intervention in “Digital Uruguay” agenda.

The massive plan is not without care for environment. Government shall establish information management system for monitoring environment variables, invest in disaster management and monitor non-ionising radiation levels.

Government Management

The future administration shall be data driven. It entails enable strategic management and use of data, incorporation of digital trends and emerging technology to create value. The idea is to adopt new models for citizen – government engagement and better decision making. Government plans to open up all services in all its departments in electronic mode. Further Uruguay is envisaging open e-government by opening up government data and effective citizen participation in all its departments.

Thus, to promote seamless function of departments, interoperability and metadata standards shall take center place. Common infrastructure to aid contracting, procurement and integration will be promoted. Communication and data/ analytics driven decision making shall drive government of tomorrow for Uruguay.

Governance for Information Society

Information society is ever evolving and keeps up empowering end users. To ensure positive evolution of a dynamic digital society, an ongoing digital policy is in place. Government makes sure that extensive stakeholder engagement guarantees trust and security. To strengthen governance, Uruguay plans to strengthen the necessary institutional framework. The institutions shall articulate, monitor, measure and promote ICT sector. They shall come up with statistics that shall serve as input for digital policies and decision-making processes.

Cybersecurity is also high on Uruguay’s agenda. The commitments towards better governance include setting up National Cybersecurity Operation Centre, Electronic ID card and raising awareness for the proper use of internet.

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