Op-ed: Serbia’s progress in E-Government: A powerful message to citizens, investors

By Marta Arsovska Tomovska,

Director for Digital Government in the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Former Minister for ICT and public administration in the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia

According to the rankings in the UN E-Government Survey 2022, Serbia’s Government was able to better serve its citizens thanks to the accelerated digital transformation of public services. In the same time, progress in the online services arena is a clear signal for both domestic and foreign investors that the country has significantly improved its business environment and increased transparency and accountability.

The latest UN report presented the current state of digital government development in 193 countries, all United Nations Member States. UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is a composite index based on three separate base indices that measure the development of online services (OSI), human capital (HCI) and telecommunication infrastructure (TII). The value of these indices can be “very high”, “high”, “medium” or “low”. For Serbia, both the composite EGDI and the base OSI, TII and HCI, are rated “very high”. 

According to the value of the Online Service Index (OSI), Serbia is now 26th in the world and surpassed a number of highly developed countries like Canada, Switzerland and Norway, as well as 16 EU Member States – including Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Croatia and Greece. Serbia will continue to invest in digital government, with many new online services already in the pipeline.

When it comes to Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII), Serbia is also making sure no one is left behind. Compared to 2020, the value of TII in the 2022 report improved as much as 27 places, and it is expected to improve even more by 2025 with the full roll-out of the rural broadband project – high speed internet provided to 99% of households in Serbia.

Another great achievement in this year’s report is Serbia’s position on the eParticipation Index. Serbia’s eParticipation is ranked 15th in the world. In fact, only three EU Member Stares, namely Denmark, Finland and Estonia, have more participatory online interaction between the state and its citizens.

Serbia’s long-term investments and efforts in digital transformation of the public sector surely contributed to the results recorded in the survey. This year, Serbia is among the 10 front-runners in the world according to the pace of development of E-Government. By moving up 18 positions on the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), Serbia is ranked 40th globally. In the same time, Serbia ranks ahead of the most countries in the region and even ahead of 6 EU Member States – Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In the previous two years, since the eGovernment Development Survey 2020, only by exchanging data ex-officio Serbia’s Government saved citizens and businesses more than 100 million visits to the government’s counters. More than 1.4 million documents were delivered electronically, instead by regular mail. Taxes and fees for more than 7 million e-services were paid online.

Efforts in the field of eGovernment, in addition to improving the quality of life and business operations in Serbia, make the government more efficient and greener – the electronic way of working has so far saved over 40,000 adult trees, 15 million kWh of electricity and almost 200 million liters of water.

Recognizing the great potential of ICT to improve administrative efficiency and the quality of life of its citizens, Serbia has high hopes for digitalization and has set ambitious goals for e-government. Serbia will continue with undiminished enthusiasm.

Source:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/serbias-progress-e-government-powerful-message-arsovska-tomovska

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