Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption

macron

Mr Emmanuel MACRON, President of France. Copyright: European Union

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Carlos Santiso, Director for Digital Innovation in Government, Development Bank of Latin America


Technology is changing and challenging governments around the world. With data analytics and artificial intelligence, new technologies present governments with tremendous opportunities to improve public services, get better value-for-money, and curb corruption.

 

Governments need to become fit-for-purpose in the digital era. Faced with the rising expectations of digital natives, they realize that business-as-usual is over. In Chile, for example, the current social malaise reflects frustrated aspirations of the new, yet vulnerable middle-class.

Bureaucracies are developing a greater appetite for new ways of thinking and doing. Progressive governments are pushing public agencies to be more tech-savvy and data-thirsty, willing to take risks and learning to adapt faster. In the past, governments tended to contract-out tech expertise to big-techs. They are now building-up their capacities to understand emerging technologies better and diversifying technology providers to avoid being locked into using certain vendors. They are creating central agencies to rationalize how they buy and deploy new technologies. Britain created its Government Digital Services in 2011 and has saved £3.56bn between 2012 and 2015. The United States and Sweden are the latest to follow course.

Power purchaser

The public sector is indeed the greatest purchaser of technology, spending over US$400 billion annually on technology. With the acceleration of governments’ digital transformation, to figure is set to increase to reach US$1 trillion by 2025. There is a big market for tech companies willing to service the changing needs of governments in the digital era.

Countries are aggressively competing against one another to attract digital talent and tech start-ups. In Europe, there is a fierce battle to succeed Britain as the leading digital innovator after Brexit. In September, French President Emmanuel Macron drummed up €5bn from venture capitalists and asset managers to invest in tech start-ups over the next three years. “Our desire is to make France the leading ecosystem in Europe,” said Cédric O, France’s minister for the digital economy when visiting London last September to promote France’s start-up scene.

In this race to catch-up with the future, govtech start-ups can help build smarter governments and more agile governance. Govtech start-ups can disrupt the way governments deliver value and empower citizens. They can help the public sector absorb digital disruptions and data insights to increase efficiency and transparency in the delivery of public services. These start-ups are driven by financial returns, but they are also seeking public value and social impact.

The growth of govtech

The govtech industry is still in its infancy, but has great growth potential in the start-up space. The most developed govtech ecosystems are in Europe and North America. According to some estimates, there over 2000 govtechs in Europe. In Spain, ElectronicIDentification is developing digital identification systems. The French Manty offers public administrations and local governments a business intelligence tool to analyze their data quicker. The British platform Novoville connects local authorities with their citizens. Over 45 cities across Europe are using it.

Governments are taking note. Governments looking to start-ups to accelerate innovation, at a time when citizens are expecting better services. For Alexander de Carvalho of Public, a leading govtech venture, they face three tech challenges: an overreliance on legacy systems, a lack of investment in technology, and a small number of dominant incumbents creating situations of vendor capture.

In France, President Macron is trying to put “the state in a start-up mode,” incubating start-ups within public agencies and deploying a €700 million challenge fund to incentivize agencies to innovate. Israel, Britain, Denmark, Portugal, and Poland, all have set-up govtech challenge programs through which government agencies go to the stat-up market for solutions. For Simon Kollerup, Denmark’s Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, “the Danish govtech program is new approach to adopt new technology in the public sector. But it is also a great opportunity for tech companies to understand our operations and demands.” Innovation labs are mushrooming, especially in cities. Countries are introducing flexible procurement rules, regulatory sandboxes, govtech funds and tax incentives.

Venture investors, too, are developing greater appetite for govtechs. They are often put-off by red-tape and remain cautious, as return on investment is still uncertain. Investing in govtech entails different approaches; it requires “patient capital” akin to impact investing that can sustain the long cycles and complex rules of government contracting.

In the most mature markets, govtech investing is picking up. For Ron Bouganim, founder of the Govtech Fund, seed investors need to “break down the myths of investing in govtech” and realize that they can generate financial returns. In the US, funding for govtechs totaled US$336 million in 2016, a 300% growth between 2012 and 2016. In 2018, the GovTech Fund announced a €450 million joint venture to invest in early-stage govtechs in Europe. “For savvy investors, says Daniel Korski, founder of Public, govtech is a relatively unknown but lucrative opportunity based around long-term contracts and large margins. We’ve already seen a few big valuations and large exits and this is only set to increase.”

Corruption: who is trusted least and most
Corruption: who the global public trusts, or suspects

For Idoia Ortiz de Artiñano of the Madrid-based PublicTech Lab, “Latin America is the next frontier for govtech.” In Colombia, President Ivan Duque has placed creative industries and tech start-ups at the center of his agenda. At the Development Bank of Latin America, we developed an index to measure the maturity of govtech ecosystems in the region, which confirms the incipient nature and, at the same time, the tremendous potential of govtechs in a region in which governance challenges are particularly acute.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about corruption?

It hosts the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI), the largest global CEO-led anti-corruption initiative.

Realizing that corruption hampers growth and innovation, and increases social inequality, PACI aims to shape the global anti-corruption agenda.

Founded in 2004, it brings together top CEOs, governments and international organizations who develop collective action on corruption, transparency and emerging-marking risks.

PACI uses technology to boost transparency and accountability through its platform, Tech for Integrity.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Benefits of rural migration effect often overlooked, new UN report suggests

Politicization of migrant ‘crisis’ in Hungary making them scapegoats, independent UN human rights expert warns

What do the economic woes of Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia have in common?

Latvian economy is thriving, but boosting productivity, improving social protection and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model are vital for sustainable and inclusive growth

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

Concern rising over fate of Rohingya refugees sent home by India: UNHCR

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

EU-Japan trade agreement enters into force

UN agency chief calls Ethiopia’s revised refugee law ‘one of most progressive’ in Africa

Digital transformation and the rise of the ‘superjob’

The next Google in biotech: will it be Chinese?

DR Congo: efforts to control Ebola epidemic continue, UN food relief agency doubles assistance to affected people

Amsterdam is getting a 3D-printed bridge

I cycled over 6,000km across the United States to document climate change. Here’s what I learned

3 ways to fight stress at work

Germany’s strong anti-bribery enforcement against individuals needs to be matched by comparably strong enforcement against companies

We all have a ‘hierarchy of needs’. But is technology meeting them?

Technology can help us end the scourge of modern slavery. Here’s how

Saudi Arabia, China, among 14 nations under UN human rights spotlight: what you need to know

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

UN ‘prioritizing needs’, ramping up aid, as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Women must be at ‘centre of peacekeeping decision-making’, UN chief tells Security Council

This app lets you plant trees to fight deforestation

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

EU–US: What is the real exchange in a Free Trade Agreement?

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

The EU Commission vies to screen Chinese investment in Europe

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

Partnerships key to taking landlocked countries out of poverty: UN Chief

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

New Erasmus: more opportunities for disadvantaged youth

What is digital equality? An interview with Nanjira Sambuli

‘Race against time’ to help women who bore brunt of Cyclone Idai: UN reproductive health agency

At UN, Cuba slams US ‘criminal’ practices undermining country’s development

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ attack in Iran

Opening – Parliament expresses support for victims of Fuego volcano in Guatemala

Kenya wants to run entirely on green energy by 2020

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

This is what the world’s CEOs really think of AI

COP21 Breaking News: “We must accelerate the process”, Laurent Fabius cries out from Paris

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Source: Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption – The European Sting – Critical News… […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s