CTIN latest activity: Increasing awareness on the use of civic tech to digitalise local government

We recently shared our insights on interesting initiatives that aim to link people to governance processes in inclusive ways and to share our experiences and insights on digitizing governance processes.

mural board from the session
  • How can we include communities in the digitization process?
  • How do we determine where to start?

Slow progress: Why has it taken us so long to digitize, and what continues to keep us second guessing this process?

Geci offered that one of the reasons why digitizing local government has taken so long is because a whole range of issues have been conflated in the agenda, leading to a lot of complication which has avoided the possibility of taking baby steps — an approach which several international lessons point to, including from the experience of Cape Verde which today is a continental leader in e-government. Specifically, she explains that we have not even properly distinguished between digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation, and have ended up pursuing varying and inadequate extents of each across our cities.

What’s missing: How can we include communities in the digitization process?

One of the major challenges with digitising local government or government in general is that the communities tend not to be included in the processes of innovating the services they have to use. Perhaps governments on any level should look at local formations who can assist with government digitalisation efforts. We need to think about the fact that there are effective practices and innovations and understandings that are already out there; it is not a blank slate and there is a lot that can be leveraged endogenously.

Starting Point: How do we determine where to start?

A city official shared some thoughts on where we can begin to digitalis local government: “Part of the big problem is that the procurement processes are not watching the right issues in local government… The procurement systems are not enabling local innovation or finding value for money, and cities do not have negotiators that can bridge the deals.”

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