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COVID ERSDEL has 300,000 users in the first three days

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The COVID-19 ERSDEL system, which provides an early warning of the risk of coronavirus infection, was installed and configured by 300,000 people in the first three days of its launch in Mongolia. According to Google and Apple, the penetration is faster than in other countries. When about 1 million people use it in our country, the introduction of this system will be effective and citizens will be able to protect themselves. This will greatly contribute to the health sector to reduce the spread of infection. HOW TO USE THE COVID-19 ERSDEL SYSTEM? If your phone has an android operating system, you will install the COVID-19 ERSDEL application on your phone. If you have iOS, go to your phone's Settings and enable Exposure Notification. Settings can be set to iOS 12.5 or 13.7 or later. Also, if you want to use this system in Mongolian, you will change your mobile phone system language to MONGOLIAN. If the result of your PCR test for a coronavirus infection is POSITIVE, a confirmation link from the State Emergency Commission will be sent to your mobile phone. Click on the confirmation link and let your close contacts to know that you have been infected with confidential information. Those notifications will be sent to the people who have been close to you for more than 15 minutes at a distance of 2 meters. Contact people can click on the link on their mobile phone, fill out a questionnaire, and decide whether to isolate themselves or get tested. In order to work on the system, you need to keep your Bluetooth on at all times. At this time, your location and personal information will not be collected or transmitted. HOW WAS THE COVID-19 ERSDEL SYSTEM INTRODUCED IN MONGOLIA? A.Amarbayar from Amazon and his team open-source Mongolian developers, contacted Apple and Google to express their interest to launch the system in Mongolia in November 2020. It continued successfully with the cooperation of organizations such as the Onom Foundation, Gerege Systems LLC, Communications and Information Technology Authority, and the Ministry of Health as well as State Emergency Commission and the System was introduced to the public in Mongolia in April 19, 2021.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Official statement of the Universal Service Obligation Fund

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Communications and Information Technology Authority is a government special fund operating under the Law on Communications, the Law on Government Special Funds, and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations. It has been working to deliver ICT services, build new networks, and introduce, expand, and upgrade modern communication technologies to the citizens in remote areas. The USOF does not receive any funding from the state budget, but raises funds from legal entities engaged in telecommunications services and implements the above-mentioned projects. From 2009 to date, the fund has been used to introduce, expand and upgrade mobile communication networks at 339 places, deliver and improve internet services at 321 places, build one-stop communication buildings, communication towers, and fiber optic networks at 62 places, and improve the quality of postal services in 330 soums. Also, the Fund implemented a project to improve accessibility and organized training on basic information and communication technology for 330 soums in 21 aimags, as well as published and distributed more than 100,000 manuals and brochures. The amendment of the Law on Government Special Fund, which came into force on January 1, 2020, states that “9.2. The Universal service obligation fund shall be the source specified in Articles 6.1.2 and 6.1.3 of this law. 9.3. The funds to be collected from a legal entity engaged in telecommunications services specified in 9.2 of this Law shall be equal to 3 percent of the net profit after tax. ” clearly stated. In addition, the Government Resolution No. 205 of December 9, 2020 re-approved the “Rule for funding and expending of Universal Service Obligation Fund” and defined a “Legal Entity Providing Telecommunication Services” to the “Law on Business Licensing”, which states License holder specified in Article 15.16 of the Law, “Classification of all types of economic activities” 53 (Post, expenditure, messenger activity), 61 (Telecommunication), 62 (Computer programming, consulting and related activities) ), 63 (Information Service Activities). Prior to the enactment of the Law on Government Special Funds or before 2020, only companies licensed to provide telecommunications services raised funds, while the new version of the law generally categorizes telecommunications services as legal entities. Existing entities have been added to the scope of the law. This will increase the fund's resources and helps to finance many programs that were previously unresolved due to lack of funding, such as increase the use of information technology, improve digital literacy among citizens, and expand the ICT market. Furthermore, by order of the Head of the Cabinet Secretariat, a non-staff Supervisory Board consisting of 9 representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations has been established to monitor and recommend the activities of the Universal Service Obligation Fund. Note: The audit report and conclusion of the National Audit Office on the activities of the Universal Service Obligation Fund, as well as the detailed report on-budget funding and expenditure, and related information can be found on the website and transparent account information of the Authority.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Statistics in the field of telecommunications and information technology have been integrated into our page

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]. Communications and Information Technology Authority has compiled statistics in a single window as part of its efforts to make the sector's operations and information more transparent to the public. The statistics provide information on E-Mongolia, an integrated public service system, mobile phone, and Internet usage, multi-channel TV services, and mobile phone users, as well as data on the sector's human resources and contribution to the economy. For example, the E-Mongolia system has 1,104,753 users since its introduction and multi-channel television user became 747,797. Smartphone users reached 3,405,966 out of total 4,363,919 mobile phone subscribers. The telecommunications and information technology sector is one of the priorities of the Mongolian economy. In the future, we are working to ensure the openness and transparency of the sector's activities and statistics, and to create a unified database of the sector. For statistical information, visit the official website of the CITA at www.cita.gov.mn ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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State Emergency Committee has partnered with Apple and Google to introduce the COVID-19 ERSDEL system

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Apple and Google, the world's largest providers of mobile operating systems, have teamed up to introduce the Exposure Notification system to contribute to the global fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. The system has a technological solution that does not collect, store or transmit any personal information such as name, number, location, and other personal information. Currently, the system is used by more than 130 million people in more than 60 countries to fight coronavirus infection and the State Emergency Committee of Mongolia has made it possible for our citizens to use the COVID-19 ERSDEL in Mongolian and English with the support of E-Mongolia. The COVID-19 ERSDEL system will allow citizens to be notified in a timely manner of possible coronavirus infection. It also plays a key role in facilitating the detection and surveillance of patients and contacts with coronavirus infection. How COVID-19 ERSDEL system works: Using Bluetooth technology creates random identifiers which are change every few minutes. Therefore, your phone needs to have Bluetooth turned on and it does not drain your battery. Information of location is not monitored or collected No personal information will be collected, stored, or shared. Mobile data does not require. You will be notified if you were close to an infected person and you might be infected. If you use an iPhone, on versions of iOs 12.5, 13.7, or later, the system can be found at Settings. For Android, you can download the COVID19 ERSDEL application from the Playstore. The system will be available next Monday, April 19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM7iHNP7dv8[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Facebook launches We Think Digital Program in Mongolia to cultivate responsible digital citizens

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Today, Facebook launched We Think Digital, a multi-phased awareness and educational campaign to help Mongolian internet users navigate the online world safely and responsibly, and cultivate responsible digital citizens with complete digital literacy. Created in partnership with Faro Foundation, Mongolia’s Ministry of Education and Science, and Communication and Information Technology Authority. We Think Digital features a wide range of online and offline initiatives over the course of this year, including free online training webinars, and educational content on the We Think Digital website. The program aims to train 10,000 local digital citizens by the end of the year. As a response to the urgent need for stronger digital literacy and digital citizenship, Facebook is bringing the global program “We Think Digital” to Mongolia for the first time. The program aims to teach people how to navigate their privileges and obligations in today’s evolving digital space, how they should decipher and share information online, and most importantly, how they should interact with other people in online communities. Facebook’s We Think Digital Program is the expansion of the Digital Literacy Library, which was also developed by Facebook and launched in Mongolia in 2019. We Think Digital is an extensive training program composed of eight modules covering topics such as digital citizenship, online safety, hate speech and bullying, privacy and cybersecurity, as well as misinformation. “We know our job is never done when it comes to online safety, and we will continue to build better tools, improve our policies, and partner with experts to ensure our platforms offer a safe and positive experience for our community,” said George Chen, Director of Public Policy at Facebook. “The launch of We Think Digital in Mongolia today shows our long-term commitment in people, technology, programs and partnerships, such as reducing the spread of misinformation and minimizing incidences of online harassment, to keep our communities closer together.” [caption id="attachment_60214" align="alignleft" width="300"] Picture 1. Director of Public Policy at Facebook George Chan[/caption] To commemorate the launch of the program, Facebook and its partners will hold a series of online webinars. For which, the Prime Minister of Mongolia L. Oyun-Erdene sent his regards and quoted, “We are excited for Facebook to launch its We Think Digital Program in Mongolia today. Mongolia has prioritized digital transformation this year, and this implementation is much time as the government sought to foster digital literacy in its education system. We extend our sincerest appreciation to Facebook for this imperative investment for our people. I am confident that we will continue collaborating with Facebook in many other ways to support Mongolia’s economic and social development.” [caption id="attachment_60216" align="alignright" width="300"] Prime Minister of Mongolia L. Oyun-Erdene[/caption] PM L. Oyun-Erdene officially delegated Chairwoman at Communication and Information Technology Authority B. Bolor-Erdene to represent the Government of Mongolia and quote him during the event. Apart from Faro Foundation, Facebook is also proud to have many supporting organizations for the We Think Digital launch in Mongolia, including the Faro Foundation, Ministry of Education and Science, Communication and Information Technology Authority, UNICEF, and Fact Check Mongolia. We Think Digital webinars  Starting from April 14, 2021, Facebook will host a series of live webinars covering relevant topics. Each webinar will feature advice and tips from industry leaders, experts, educators, and key opinion leaders to empower everyone to become a more informed and responsible digital citizen. [caption id="attachment_60213" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chairwoman at Communication and Information Technology Authority B. Bolor-Erdene[/caption] The first webinar will broadcast on April 4 at 1 P.M., hosting a representative of the Prime Minister of Mongolia L. Oyun-Erdene for opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion on “Digital Citizen” with four renowned community and industry leaders who will discuss the basics of what it means to hold a digital citizenship, and relevant topics to Mongolia’s digital transformation. The second webinar will be on April 28 at 1 P.M. and the guest of honor will be the Mongolian Minister of Education and Science L. Enkh-Amgalan, followed by a panel discussion on “Online Safety”. The webinar will be held on May 12 at 1 P.M. with opening remarks delivered by the U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia, His Excellency Michael S. Klecheski, followed by a panel discussion on “Misinformation”.   And the final webinar will be held on May 26 at 1 P.M. with the Guest of Honor Chairwoman at Communication and Information Technology Authority B. Bolor-Erdene, followed by a panel discussion on “Online Privacy”. All webinars can be viewed on the We Think Digital Mongolia Facebook Page. Online resources on wethinkdigital.fb.com In collaboration with experts, academics, non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations, Facebook has designed a set of modules and resources for educators and members of the public to download for free. To download the resources, please visit https://wethinkdigital.fb.com/mn/mn-mn/resources/. Training for the Public From April to May, Facebook will implement a Digital Literacy program to provide training and support for teachers to implement digital literacy lessons at their own schools. The program is also open to the public. Stay tuned for more details through We Think Digital Mongolia Facebook Page. For more information, please visit: https://wethinkdigital.fb.com/mn Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wethinkdigitalmn/ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wethinkdigitalmn Media contacts: Facebook’s lead partner for We Think Digital in Mongolia: Byambajargal Ayushjav, Country Representative of Facebook and Founder of Faro Foundation Mongolia byambajargal@faro.mn[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Ms Bolor-Erdene: Satellites play an important role to increase “Digital Connectivity” and reducing the “Digital Divide” in Mongolia

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] The Operations Committee continues a series of interviews with the members of the Intersputnik Operations Committee called the “Voice of Satellite Industry”. These interviews are done by the Chairwoman of the Operations Committee Ms. Ksenia Drozdova, who talks to very interesting people representing companies and agencies from space, telecom and IT sectors all across the globe. This time an interview below brings us to the northern part of Asia, to Mongolia. The “Voice of Satellite Industry” presents an interview with Ms. Bolor-Erdene*, a Chairwoman of the Communication and Information Technology Authority of Mongolia. Mrs. DROZDOVA: First of all, could you please tell us about the history of space technology in Mongolia briefly? Ms. BOLOR-ERDENE: In 1965, Mongolia joined the Intercosmos program to study space for peaceful purposes, which marks the beginning of space exploration. At that time, the Soviet Union made a significant contribution to the development of space technology in our country. In 1970, the first Satellite Ground Station named the Orbit was established. As a result, one of the Mongolian space missions was to send a Mongolian cosmonaut into space. The mission was successfully achieved in 1981 with the Mongolian-Soviet joint space flight under the Intercosmos program. Since 1990, briefly, we have been focusing on the development of the application of satellite technology and preparing human resources. Mrs. DROZDOVA: As we know the digital transformation has been bringing huge impacts on each country and each sector of society. What do you think of the benefits of digital transformation in the space industry? Could you please share us with the perspective of digital transformation in Mongolia? Ms. BOLOR-ERDENE: The digital transformation in the space industry could bring the following benefits, including 1. Digital technologies and a new entrepreneurial spirit are shaping a new space economy; 2. Digital transformations have lowered the barrier of entry; 3. The emergence of private companies are seeking commercial opportunities in space exploration and exploitation; 4. Emerging space nations like Mongolia benefit from space technologies and applications in supporting sustainable development and economic growth; 5. The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has become a reality in the space field. In terms of digital transformation in Mongolia, the government of Mongolia has set the goal of becoming a Digital Nation over the next five years. The goal includes six strategic goals: improving access to digital infrastructure, developing e-governance, ensuring cybersecurity at all levels, improving public digital literacy, supporting technology-based innovation, and accelerating the development of other industries through information technology. I would say that the first step in our journey towards becoming a digital nation was the launch of the e-Mongolia platform in October 2020. So looking at the statistics of the e-Mongolia platform, we have seen remarkable results so far. For example, the platform currently integrated with 25 government organizations and it has more than 200 public services. So more than 1,000,000 people, which is half of the adult population have received online services through the E-Mongolia platform. Within this year, we are planning to integrate 592 public services into the e-Mongolia system. Mrs. DROZDOVA: When traveling across boundless territories of Mongolia, one can see that almost every settlement or village is equipped with satellite communication, and there are numerous satellite TV dishes on the roofs of yurts. All visitors to Mongolia point out the high quality and relatively low cost of mobile communications in the country while there are a lot of rural and distant areas, as well as difficult geographical terrain in Mongolia. As we know two-thirds of the country's population live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and other big cities. More than 1 million people live a nomadic life. It seems like good conditions for the wide use of satellite communications. Could you please tell us more about the status of Satcom development in Mongolia, and how membership in Intersputnik helps you to use satellite communications for improving the social and economic live of Mongolians? Ms. BOLOR-ERDENE: In Mongolia, almost every city and province are connected with high-speed, broadband fiber optic networks as well as with the high quality and relatively low cost of mobile communications. However, Mongolia is in terms of its area the 18th largest sovereign state and the most sparsely populated country in the world. There are a lot of rural and distant areas, as well as difficult geographical terrain in Mongolia. Approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. In this case, satellite technology plays a vital role to eliminate the Digital Divide and increasing Digital Connectivity in our country. The significance of communication satellite and observation satellite technology is enormous too. Mongolia is one of the founding members of the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications established in 1971. We always greatly value our collaboration with Intersputnik. Intersputnik helps us to use satellite communications for improving the social and economic live of Mongolians a lot. I would like to mention a few of them. For instance, the “Satellite Business Development Program” aimed at expanding the business activities of member countries, Capacity building training in space technology development, and international regulatory cooperation in the space field, etc. Mrs. DROZDOVA: My next question is connected with the previous one. National GEO communications satellites have become a trend recently. More and more nations all across the globe are launching their proprietary national independent satellite systems. Does Mongolia have any plans to join this trend? And one more question. Some of such nations have launched a satellite in cooperation with other satellite operators or nations. So, in case there are plans for national satellite, what do you think of implementation this project via a cooperative model in Intersputnik, with the participation of other nations or signatories interested in their proprietary satellite segment? Ms. BOLOR-ERDENE: We have been seeing many developments related to National GEO communications satellites in recent years. More and more nations all across the globe are launching their proprietary national independent satellite systems. As we know, GEO satellite orbit is a limited natural resource. In 2012, the Government of Mongolia approved the National Satellite Program which aimed to develop the GEO orbital slot assigned by the ITU and to launch national independent satellite systems. As an emerging space nation, Mongolia has been facing many challenges. But we have been making significant progress in protecting and developing our orbital slot, training our professionals, expanding international cooperation, and finding a cost-effective and affordable GEO satellite system. Regarding implementing a national satellite project via a cooperative model in Intersputnik, we would be happy to consider any workable proposal. Mrs. DROZDOVA: Satellites will remain a vital part of future telecom infrastructure, especially in countries with large rural and distant territories. Moreover, modern telecom technology development also takes satellites into account. LEO broadband mega-constellations development, satellite integration into 5G RAN protocol, etc. In the framework of future development of ICT infrastructure in your country, how Intersputnik can assist Mongolia? Ms. BOLOR-ERDENE: Because of the recent satellite technology developments and achievements, I would like to highlight heavy investments in LEO broadband high-speed internet service and integration of 5G technologies in LEO Mega-Constellations globally. I think that these trends could bring significant impacts in the satellite markets as well as in the entire telecom markets. That is why it seems to me that the boundaries between space and terrestrial telecom services are blurred. The convergence of technologies in the ICT sector has become a reality. I would say that satellites could play an important role to increase “Digital Connectivity” and reducing the “Digital Divide” in Mongolia. Generally, in the framework of the “VISION-2050” long-term development policy of Mongolia, we would be happy to cooperate with Intersputnik to develop natural disaster warning systems, border and area monitoring, remote education, and health services with the help of space technologies, to strengthen the capacity and infrastructure to study, own and use space technologies, and to create national products and services based on space technologies. In the end, I’d like to wish our Intersputnik colleagues the Happy 50th Anniversary! And I am looking forward to the next 50 years of collaboration. Mrs. DROZDOVA: Thank you very much. ---- * Ms. Bolor-Erdene is a chairwoman at the Communication and Information Technology Authority in Mongolia where she aims to bring better changes to both public and government through the digital governance program, E-Mongolia. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a master's degree in Public Policy in 2017. After graduation, she implemented a project, titled “Nomads in the Digital Age” with Pathways for Prosperity Commission, which is funded by the Gates Foundation, co-chaired by Melinda Gates, which aims to accelerate inclusive development through technological development and digital readiness. Before her graduation, she started her journey from international organizations such as ADB, The World Bank, Millennium Challenge Corporation, International Institute for Sustainable Development, The Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and European Bank for Reconstruction Development. SOURCE: Ms. Bolor-Erdene: Satellites play an important role to increase “Digital Connectivity” and reducing the “Digital Divide” in Mongolia. (intersputnik.online) [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Evaluate and improve the policies and strategies for telecommunication universal service obligation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Within the framework of the Smart Government project implemented by the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of Mongolia and the World Bank, an assessment of the current status of telecommunication universal service obligations and the revision of policy documents have begun. The client of this sub-project is the Communications and Information Technology Authority and the contractor is the Canadian consulting company “Intelecon” with experience in providing consulting services in this field. The “Contract Initiative Meeting” of the project stakeholders was held today and a consensus was reached on the project requirements, goals, work plan and cooperation. It has been more than 10 years since the Universal Service Obligation Fund was established. During this period, Mongolia's telecommunications infrastructure has expanded and remote communities have access to adequate telecommunications services. It is planned to complete the delivery of communication services to the target group by next year. In recent years, mobile operators, CITA, and other public organizations, NGOs as well as private organizations have stated that it is time to update the goals, activities, and policy documents of the USOF.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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The E-Mongolia system has 1 million users

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Launched on October 1, 2020, E-Mongolia now has 1 million users in six months. E-Mongolia system includes 316 government services so far and the Government of Mongolia is preparing to digitalize 592 government services within its first 100 days and to make the services available in Mongolian and English. The system includes additional official decisions and statistics from the State Emergency Committee, Capital Emergency Committee, and the Ministry of Health, as well as a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. Vaccination certificates are available both in English and Mongolian. Citizens can get public services from www.e-mongolia.mn and mobile applications.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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A tale of two countries: How Benin and Mongolia are fast-tracking digital government

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Benin and Mongolia do not at first appear to have many similarities. One is a relatively small, but densely populated country in West Africa. The other is a large, but sparsely populated country in Central Asia. Yet, citizens in both countries have something in common: since 2020 they’ve had access to hundreds of new public services online. In March 2020, the Government of Benin launched its national public services portal called service-public.bj which provides access to 70 transactional services like a passport or building permit applications. It also delivers clear and coherent guidance on over 500 other public services. Soon after this, Benin launched an e-learning platform for public university students and a website with the results of national public exams. Meanwhile, in Mongolia, the Government launched a platform available both online and through a smartphone app called e-Mongolia. E-Mongolia gives citizens access to the 181 most in-demand government services. Five months after its launch, e-Mongolia had been used by 700,000 people – that’s over 35 percent of its adult population. These new online services came at a perfect time, as governments tried to limit in-person interactions with citizens during the Covid-19 crisis. This article looks at how these achievements were made possible, as well as the common features behind these two countries’ digital transformation success stories. 1. Supportive political leaders and committed operational leaders In both countries, political leaders have put the digital transformation of public services at the core of their agendas. Patrice Talon, President of Benin since 2016, made this clear in his five-year action plan ‘Bénin Révélé’. He also names connectivity, digital literacy, and smart administration as key development areas. The same applies in Mongolia. The 40-year-old and recently appointed Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene has affirmed that building a digital nation is currently the country’s top priority. But strong political support on its own is not enough. In Benin and Mongolia, much of the credit should be given to the women in charge of driving the digital transformation of their respective governments: Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou and Bolor-Erdene Battsengel. Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou is the Minister of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation of Benin. She was appointed to this role by President Patrice Talon in 2017. Since then, she has led a wide range of programs covering digital infrastructures, smart administration, and support for technology start-up companies. Bolor-Erdene Battsengels was appointed the Chairwoman of Mongolia’s Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA) in July 2020. At 27 years old, she is the youngest person and first female to hold this position. For her first three months in CITA, she oversaw the implementation of the e-Mongolia platform. 2. Empowered central digital agencies The digital transformation of the governments of Benin and Mongolia also relies on an efficient governance model, where a central digital agency is empowered to drive change. The Information Services and Systems Agency of Benin (ASSI) is the country’s central organization in charge of executing flagship projects in digital government. It provides strategic and operational assistance to all government organizations and ensures the coherence of information systems and services across public administration. The ASSI is directly under the direct supervision of the Presidency. In Mongolia, the Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA) is in charge of both ICT policymaking and its implementation and it is responsible for the development of e-Mongolia. The fact CITA is placed under the authority of the Prime Minister gives it great legitimacy in leading cross-government projects. In both countries, that direct link to government decision-makers has proven paramount to the success of these agencies, reaffirming their authority as well as allowing for swift transformation when necessary. 3. Existing connectivity and digital infrastructure Benin and Mongolia did not wait for the Covid-19 crisis to kickstart their digital transformation. The speed at which they were able to launch services in 2020 reflects the groundwork they laid in previous years. Likewise, the early adoption of digital services by citizens could not have been possible without the significant efforts demonstrated by both countries in terms of infrastructure development in the past few years. Since 2016, 2,000 kilometers of optical fiber has been installed across Benin which has helped the country more than double its internet coverage. And in order to reach citizens from all communities, they have set up a network of over 40 Community Digital Points, which are effectively public spaces where citizens can access computers and get online. Alongside connectivity infrastructure, Benin and Mongolia have invested in digital infrastructure. It is worth mentioning that both countries have based their data infrastructure on the open source data exchange solution X-Road. Mongolia started to use the X-Road model as early as 2016 to connect the information systems of all its ministries. But it took time to implement the system, and encourage data sharing across public administrations. 4. Engagement with citizens, and the private sector Both Benin and Mongolia have understood the value of working hand-in-hand with civil society and the private sector. In October 2020 – prior to the development of a national e-payment platform – the ASSI organized a discovery workshop with various players in the financial sector. It welcomed comments and ideas from private actors to inform the development and implementation of the platform. The Government of Benin was also receptive to help from the private sector and civil society actors when the Covid-19 crisis started. Start-up companies, SMEs, large corporates, academics, NGOs, and government agencies gathered in 2020 to create ‘Taskforce INNOV Covid-19’ and brainstorm on innovative solutions to the challenges caused by the crisis. In Mongolia, CITA engaged with citizens to prioritize the services to include in the e-Mongolia platform. They conducted a survey, available both online and on paper. They also tracked the time citizens spent queuing to access public services. They kept engaging with citizens while developing the platform, to make sure all information was clear, and that services were easy to use. In order to go fast, and keep momentum, CITA outsourced the development of the platform. However, they created a small project coordination unit in-house, to hold service providers accountable, and coordinate all stakeholders from the 28 government organizations involved. 2020: the year when previous hard work paid dividends Benin and Mongolia made tremendous progress in government digital transformation last year. But that’s the result of a long, slow process that started years before. They’d already laid the essential foundations they could build on, including recruiting and empowering committed leaders, putting the right digital governance in place, investing in digital infrastructure, and creating channels to engage with civil society and private sector actors. Compared with many countries, the Covid-19 crisis has not had such a significant impact on the digital transformation plans of Benin and Mongolia because they already knew where they were heading – the pandemic only confirmed they were going the right way. Claire Bedoui is Principal Consultant at Public Digital.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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