African countries to share digital transformational stories at e-Governance conference

By Wallace Mawire

African countries are set to share their transformational story initiatives at the 9th e-Governance conference to be held in Tallinn,Estonia on 30 to 31 May,2023.

According to Anu Vahtra-Hellat, Communication Manager at the e-Governance Academy, the 9th e-Governance conference will host digital leaders and experts from 70 countries.

Vahtra-Hellat said that the conference  this year focus on how to implement digital innovations more efficiently, prevent digital vulnerability and readiness  for the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the public sector. Conference topics digital skills, digital vulnerability, cybersecurity culture and data governance in AI era)

It is also reported by the organizers that the two-day event will host digital development strategists, decision makers, policy implementers, and donors from more than 70 countries worldwide. 

They add that   all continents will be represented at the conference.

The biggest delegations are expected to arrive from Brazil, Ukraine, Kosovo, Moldova and Indonesia.

According to Hannes Astok, the CEO of the e-Governance Academy (eGA), in 9 years the e-Governance conference has become the go-to meeting place for representatives of transforming countries, Estonian e-government developers, and international donors.

“Many digital cooperation projects have received a boost from this conference. For example, the development of a data exchange platform in Djibouti and Benin, the creation of a digital country roadmap for Pacific countries, and cooperation with the governments of Aruba, Dominica, Namibia, and the Cayman Islands,” said Hannes Astok.

The organizers add that the main focus of the conference is about contribution to social change via digital transformation.

Discussions will focus on four main topics, developing the necessary skills for digital governance, reducing digital vulnerability through more skillful service design, the role of people in increasing the cyber-security of the country, and data governance in the age of artificial intelligence.

“While championing digital societies during the last 20 years, eGA’s team has learned that digital innovation is not a thing in itself, but a tool for the benefit of people and society. People, not technology, must be at the center of digital transformation. Therefore, digital development requires a comprehensive and inclusive approach, starting with the development of people’s skills and ending with data governance,” said Hannes Astok.

“With the advent of artificial intelligence, governments must rethink data management, which is the basis of digital innovation, so that people control data, not data control people,” Mr. Astok added.

The conference speakers line-up includes the Estonian Prime Minister Ms. Kaja Kallas, the Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Margus Tsahkna, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technologies Mr. Tiit Riisalo, the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mr. Mykhailo Fedorov, the Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Development and Digital Transformation Mr. Dumitru Alaiba, the Indonesian Minister of Administrative Reform Mr. Abdullah Azwar Anas, the Gambian Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Mr. Ousman A. Bah, Oxford University researcher Mr. Paul Timmers, training expert Mr. Petteri Kallio, and many other digital developers and leaders from around the world.

The conference’s workshops and presentations will provide an overview of the latest digital innovations in Brazil, Costa Rica, the Gambia, Indonesia, Ukraine, and other African countries, as well as Estonia’s contribution to the digital development of several countries.

The conference will also feature an expo of digital solutions from Estonian and international companies.

The ninth e-Governance Conference is organized by the e-Governance Academy (eGA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Estonian International Development Cooperation Centre (ESTDEV).

With this year’s Conference, eGA celebrates its 20 years of activity in championing digital societies. During this time, in cooperation with Estonian and international organizations, eGA has carried out more than 300 cooperation projects, with over 280 organizations, in 141 countries and regions.

The experience gained has inspired the theme of this year’s Conference “Digital Innovation as Catalyst for Social Change”.

Distinguished digital transformation experts and international business leaders will deliberate on discussions and other topics such as on how governments can create more digitally skilled stakeholders in order to drive digital transformation, how to identify the digitally vulnerable and by engaging them to fight digital illiteracy, identifying proper ways to govern data in the public sector in AI era and how governments can  improve cyber-security behaviour across society.

The conference is expected to share real-life transformational stories of Estonia, Costa-Rica, Gambia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Namibia, Uganda and also from the hottest spot in the world, Ukraine, which is harvesting digital dividends despite the on-going war.


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