Belgium to share its know-how in the area of e-governance with the partner countries of the Development Cooperation

The framework agreement between Fedict and the Belgian Development Agency should encourage the transfer of knowledge and the development of partnerships

The Federal Public Service Information and Communication Technology (Fedict) and the Belgian Development Agency (BTC) will assist the fourteen partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation in designing their systems of e-governance. To achieve this, Fedict has concluded a cooperation agreement with the Belgian Development Agency, who will lead the process. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo is particularly pleased with this collaboration. "A digital administration is a more effective administration, also in developing countries".

The cooperation agreement means that the BTC will be able to rely on the expertise of Fedict to help the partner countries develop e-governance.

In practice, these countries will be able, for example, to receive assistance to design electronic identity cards, create a national registry, secure their infrastructure, or request strategic advice concerning e-governance.

Alexander De Croo: "I am pleased to see the Belgian Development Agency and Fedict working together. A digital administration is a more effective administration, also in developing countries. Take, for example, the ease with which a birth can be registered electronically. Knowing how many children are born in a country can provide important information for developing policy in the areas of education and the economy".

Belgian political strategy in the area of D4D

Under the initiative of Minister De Croo, "Digital for Development" (D4D) has become one of the priorities of Belgian development policy. In this context, digitisation is not an objective in itself, but it needs to be used appropriately to encourage development and assist those who are in need.

The three spearheads of the Belgian strategic policy in the area of D4D are a better use of (big) data, digitisation for inclusive societies and digitisation for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Central role of knowledge transfer

During the course of 2017, the two agencies will examine how they can realise their collaboration. Fedict will not personally organise the development of systems, but will share its knowledge on establishing an electronic administration. Fedict will also invest in the transfer of knowledge by coaching and training the staff of the BTC, but also by helping it to go over the specifications and permits in the partner countries.

In the next phase of the project, the BTC and Fedict will seek above all to identify specific needs and projects.

Frank Leyman, International Relations Manager at Fedict: "We want to get an idea of what already exists, and what is required. For the time being, we have a list of the main needs in terms of ITC and e-governance. From there, we will be able to infer a series of rapid solutions, for example to make the link between administrations, businesses and organisations who have specific expertise. With regards to projects on a larger scale, we will first discuss with the local officials of the BTC, who in turn will verify how to integrate these projects in their budgets and bilateral agreements. Collaboration with international institutions such as the World Bank, the EU or the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, is also among the possibilities."

For Carl Michiels, Director General of the Belgian Development Agency, this collaboration is nothing less than completely positive, which will be to the benefit of the partner countries. "More than ever, we need to conclude cooperative relations with the Belgian public services because they have valuable expertise which is also highly prized on the international scene. In the area of e-governance, there are plans for initiatives in Mozambique, and the government in Benin has recently expressed its interest in Belgian expertise".

The Belgian Development Agency has already concluded cooperation agreements with more than twenty Belgian and regional public services, in particular the Federal Police, the Federal Agency for the safety of the food chain, the Federal Public Service Public Health, INAMI, the Tervuren Museum, etc. As such, it is able to bring extremely diversified know-how to development projects.

The fourteen partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, the Palestinian territory, Rwanda, SenegalTanzania and Uganda.