The Inclusive Digital Economy Scorecard (IDES) has been implemented in 31 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, with national governments using the tool in a variety of ways. Countries like Zambia, Solomon Islands, and Sierra Leone use it to inform their National Digital Economy Strategies and/or National Financial Inclusion Strategies. In Uganda, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance is using the tool to focus and align their budget on key priorities. Governments of various countries use IDES as a tool to measure and track their digital transformation and inclusiveness. With the increasing adoption among governments, IDES has become a global reference tool.
Users of the IDES tool had the opportunity to exchange knowledge, best practices on inclusive digital transformation policies and learn from one another at the launch of the Community of Practice, a network of digital transformation experts for peer and knowledge exchange on inclusive digital transformation practices.
“Last year the Ministry of Technology and Science was created with a simple mandate ‘Go out there and deliver the digital transformation agenda’… We had to carry out an assessment of where we were in terms of digitalization and hence the Zambia inclusive digital economy scorecard (IDES), which basically defines that Zambia was at 45% in terms of being a digital economy… We use this scorecard to propel, to provide fuel for our transformation journey… We started with the information that was derived from the scorecard to influence the development of the ICT [Information, Communications and Technology] policy to reflect the journey of transformation that we want to deliver to the people of Zambia… From the scorecard we also realized that we needed to come up with a startup bill to enable innovators and entrepreneurs address the challenges of access to finance.”
– Hon. Felix Mutati, Minister of Technology and Science, Zambia.
“Digital transformation is not a perfect science with pre-established solutions. We will seek together how we can push the barriers, come with creative solutions to make all of our digital economies more inclusive.”
– Francois Coupienne, UNCDF Digital Global Lead
Over 30 government representatives from 15 countries met in Livingstone, Zambia in November 2022 to establish and be part of the IDES Community of Practice design.
Participants at this first IDES Community of Practice learned from the experience of various other countries in their digital transformation journeys, as well as key market constraints to inclusive digital transformation and reflected on potential solutions to overcome these constraints.
“There is a challenge with certain data because of the stakeholders working in silos. This tool is a very good way of getting data from the organizations or stakeholders and combining them into one platform or report card where it can be easily accessed and interpreted to be used for government activities and development.”
– Andrew Toimoana, Prime Minister’s Office, Tonga.
“One thing that we’ve been very comfortable with is the scorecard. Because it has given us a scientific way of assessing where we are in terms of digital inclusion. Previously we would just talk about the inclusive digital economy, but we had no scientific data or scientific measurement to say this is how we’re performing, where we need to put more effort, or where we need to focus. This is where the IDES comes as a very important tool for us.”
– Francis Bisika, Ministry of Information and Digitalization, Malawi
Through the Community of Practice event, government representatives established a strong network of professionals working in similar contexts or on similar digital transformation paths from whom they could further exchange technical expertise and other resources. The Community of Practice will also enhance knowledge in support of informed decision-making about inclusive digital transformation and work alongside UNCDF as the agency supports national governments in building inclusive digital economies that leave no-one behind.
“It was incredibly valuable to hear how other African and Pacific Island nations are using the IDES tool. In Nepal, UNCDF is collaborating with the government in using IDES to assess the inclusiveness of its digital transformation, particularly in relation to the digital initiatives outlined in the Digital Nepal Framework, 2019. This community of practice offers a unique opportunity to exchange learnings across continents, allowing everyone to support one another on their journey towards digital transformation.”
– Thomas Kurain, Digital Finance Specialist-Nepal, UNCDF
“Evaluation is crucial, and the IDES tool allows us to evaluate our progress, identify our shortcomings, and create new policies to address them. We’ve witnessed what IDES is all about in this community of practice. The top priorities for Niger are infrastructure development, improving the optical fibre-based network, and increasing access to mobile phones through sound fiscal policy. Since the launch of our new financial inclusion strategy, we’ve been working with UNCDF, and this collaboration has continued.”
– Makaou Mahamane Laouali – Executive Secretary of National Strategy of Financial Inclusion in Niger.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).