The National Data Management Authority (NDMA) has been charged with executing the national eGovernment programme. The long-term objectives of the eGovernment programme are to enable equitable digital citizenship; and transparent, accountable, responsive and efficient Governance for all Guyanese. From 2015 to 2018, NDMA focused on leveraging the eGovernment Network to bridge this existing digital divide between the hinterland and coastland, and poor and affluent communities of Guyana by: connecting Ministries and Agencies via a secure, standards-based national ICT platform; and providing access to ICTs and eServices for citizens throughout the country. However, it was recognised that a strategic approach was integral to achieving the stated long-term objectives.
Consequently, Government of Guyana, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), engaged the Government of Estonia with the aim of cooperating on the development of a “Digital Governance Roadmap for the Government of Guyana.” Estonia’s developmental trajectory provided adequate proof of their ability to leverage ICTs and eGovernment to improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens. Having started their digital journey two decades ago, today Estonia is considered ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’; they have built an efficient, secure and transparent eGovernance ecosystem. Government of Estonia has identified the eGovernance Academy (eGA) as their main focal point and to lead the development of Guyana’s Digital Governance Roadmap. eGA is ISO 9001:2015 certified in project management, training and consulting in the field of eGovernance.
On 2nd May 2018, Cabinet considered and approved eGA’s proposal for the development of a Digital Governance Roadmap for the Government of Guyana. Having received both approval and funding, the necessary contractual arrangements were finalised on 27th July 2018 for the development of a national roadmap that details the path to the establishment of a digital government – one that provides citizens with 24/7 services over the internet. Several eGA led workshops were held from 6th – 10th August 2018 with the ministries and agencies responsible for health, education, security, business, ICT, social benefits, citizenship, and public service administration. The information gathered during these sessions was used to prepare the draft Roadmap, which was then presented to Cabinet on 16th October 2018, and reviewed by the requisite public sector entities during consultations on 16th – 18th October 2018. eGA submitted the final Digital Governance Roadmap on 25th October 2018.
This report highlighted the need for improved eGovernance and cybersecurity coordination and institutional strengthening, legislative review, and population and identity management given that they are the main building blocks of eGovernment, capable of effectively advancing the digital governance agenda. These pivotal recommendations are detailed in the Digital Roadmap Report and summarised as follows:
- Strengthen eGovernment coordination by reinforcing the National Data Management Authority’s role of eGovernment Coordinator for Government of Guyana Agencies with focus on planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring of eGovernment initiatives.
- Harmonise legislation by reviewing existing legislation and implementing suggestions for eGovernment related legislative changes specifically the modernisation of the NDMA Act (1983), development of required legislation (e.g. Personal Data Protection, Electronic ID, Digital Signatures, Data Management), etc.
- Harmonise eGovernment development to avoid parallel investments. Key to this would be the implementation of a clearly defined eGovernment budget in the state budget framework.
- Service-Oriented Government
- Manage population and identity specifically the implementation electronic identification (eID) for all citizens and development of the necessary base registers (i.e. population, commercial, and real estate registers) and population management solution.
- Create enabling environment for eService delivery and implement interoperability framework specifically the completion of an inventory of databases and services, requisite data standards, and the implementation of the X-Road interoperability framework for secure data exchange.
- Assess digitalisation level and data quality and develop and implement a strategic plan to digitise the data and improve data quality.
- Flagship Applications
- Develop eCabinet solution.
- Upgrade citizen portal for information and eServices.
- Develop national geoportal of Guyana
- Develop solutions for eHealth, eSchool and ePolice (beginning with the development of concept papers).
- Develop eDemocracy and eParticipation solution.
- Develop an open data portal for Guyana.
- Implement metadata management solution CatIS.
- Implement secure data exchange-interoperability solution.
- Implement Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Digital Identity.
- Assess, plan and implement connectivity and broadband access.
- Develop national-level cybersecurity strategy and implementation plan.
- Establish cybersecurity policy, coordination, threat assessment and analysis units.
- Standardise cyber and information security implementation, training, situation analysis and develop requirements.
- Develop cybersecurity plan and conduct regular cyber assessments/audits/tests and continuous monitoring.
These recommendations were considered and endorsed by Cabinet on 18th December 2018, with NDMA’s role as the lead coordinator of Guyana’s eGovernment programme being re-emphasised. Towards the implementation of this Roadmap, key government officials have since concluded study tours and workshops in Estonia and China from 8th – 19th April 2019. The objectives of this study tour were to ensure a shared understanding and vision of eGovernment in Guyana; expand awareness of the importance, application and implementation of eGovernance; enable key influencers to better champion and drive the necessary policy, administrative and technical initiatives required for successful implementation of critical eGovernance systems; and to study successfully implemented eGovernment systems in use, assess the potential developmental impact of such implementations on Guyana, and gain a better understanding of the implementation requirements, and steps.
Government of Guyana is currently moving forward with the implementation of the Roadmap.