Estonia committed to work with Uganda to accelerate their digital transformation process

This week, the Estonian Centre for International Development (EstDev) is hosting a delegation of civil servants from Uganda, who are in Estonia to gather ideas to kickstart the process of digitalisation in different ministries in Uganda. 

Uganda has made steady progress towards streamlining government services through digitalisation and access to e-governance solutions, and is focusing now on including more civil servants in the process. Eight representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water and Environment, Ministry of Public Service and Ministry of ICT and National Guidance meet different Estonian e-service providers, focusing on e-governance, e-education and e-health services.

Cooperation with Enabel in Africa

The visit is part of a project by Enabel – the Belgian development cooperation agency – in Uganda. The aim of the project is to improve the organisational performance and service delivery of government agencies through empowering and training civil servants.

“Estonia has become a role model in terms of digital transformation. Through learning from the best, the different Ugandan ministries can accelerate their own digital transformation processes,” Bart Cornille, Digital for Development expert at Enabel in Uganda, said.

This benchmarking visit will provide valuable input to fulfilling the project goals and creating action plans to move towards tangible results.

“By giving Ugandan civil servants the opportunity to learn from the Estonian experience, see how various e-services work, and learn from our mistakes, they will be much better placed to play a role in shaping and bringing Ugandan digital vision into reality,” Katrin Winter, EstDev’s Advisor for East Africa, explained. “Estonia’s reputation as a front-runner in the provision of e-governance solutions is well established across Africa. We have been advising a number of governments on adapting digital solutions and more and more countries are keen to learn from our experience,” she added.

22 ongoing projects in Africa

The main goals of Estonia’s cooperation with Africa are to increase the security, prosperity and stability of the continent, strengthen business relations, share Estonia’s experiences, best practices and transition experiences, and support global sustainable development. Estonia has developed a regional strategy for engaging in Africa for 2020-2030 with the ambitious goal of meeting the challenges of the 21st century together.

Currently, Estonia has 22 ongoing projects in Africa, five of those in Uganda. Since 2018, partnership between Estonia and Uganda has been focused on data security and digital transformation, e-governance solutions, e-solutions for the education innovations, and sustainable agriculture development. Main Estonian implementation partners in Uganda are NGO Mondo, Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation, eKool and Garage48.

Digital Uganda vision 

The Uganda Government recognises ICTs as critical to the delivery of its national Vision 2040. A part of the vision, The Digital Uganda Vision, sets out the Government’s aims to build a digitally-enabled society that is secure, sustainable, innovative, and transformative to create a positive social and economic impact through technology-based empowerment. Highly skilled, motivated and involved employees and civil servants are needed to fulfill this vision.

While the ICT sector, including start-up ecosystem, is growing in Uganda, more hands on deck are required to build the country’s digital society and increase access to digital services. The role of civil servants is crucial in order to increase the uptake of digital services and make them accessible to all spheres of the country’s population.

“It is our privilege to share the Estonian transition experience with our Ugandan counterparts and we are eager to build a mechanism to make learning and knowledge exchange regular between the two countries,” Katrin Winter of EstDev said.

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