World Bank to potentially back Jordan's $321M e-gov. program

Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship
(File photo: Jordan News)

AMMAN – On Tuesday, Al-Mamlaka TV reported that the World Bank is currently considering supporting and financing a Jordanian program, valued at $321 million, that enhances individual-centric digital governance aimed at supporting the roadmap for public sector modernization and digital transformation in Jordan, which is a fundamental pillar of the Economic Modernization Vision (EMV).اضافة اعلان

The program is still under study and discussion. However, it is expected to be presented to the World Bank’s Board of Directors in the coming months. The total government funding for the program is planned to be $549 million.

The proposed program focuses on improving services that prioritize individuals, especially in areas such as health and education. Additionally, it emphasizes transparency, accountability, and government effectiveness through digitalization.

Over a 4-year implementation period, the program will contribute to increasing reliance on digital identity systems that focus on individuals. It will facilitate trusted data sharing between end-users, government agencies, and the private sector, enhancing Jordan’s overall digital public infrastructure.

Private sector stakeholders are expected to actively participate as implementers and users of this digital public infrastructure. This approach benefits the broader digital economy, not just the government.

How does this align with Jordan’s goals?
In recent years, the Jordanian government has launched several initiatives aligned with the economic reform vision, including the 10-year EMV, the roadmap for public sector modernization, and the digital transformation strategy.

The EMV aims to double the annual growth rate to 5.6 percent over the next decade, enabling the absorption of one million young Jordanians into the labor market. It focuses on attracting local and foreign investments and aims to enhance critical government services such as public transportation, healthcare, and education. Accelerating the pace of government digital transformation through partnerships with the private sector, including leveraging e-services, is also a key component of this vision.

The National Strategy for Digital Transformation and the 2021–2025 Implementation Plan aims to drive government digitization to develop digital public infrastructure. This includes initiatives such as digital identity, e-payments, open government data, and efficient resource management. The strategy aims to fully digitize government services by 2025.

Jordan has made significant progress in technology adoption within the government, as evidenced by the UN E-Government Index and the World Bank’s GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI). These advancements provide opportunities to enhance transparency, accountability, service accessibility, and quality.

Internet access, mobile phone usage, and social media adoption are widespread in Jordan. Approximately 10 million internet users, an 88 percent penetration rate, over 8.5 million active mobile phone connections, and more than 6.5 million social media users (58 percent of the population) contribute to the digital landscape. Notably, 45 percent of users are women, according to the World Bank.

Additionally, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship (MoDEE) has implemented the Sanad application to facilitate the digital identity of citizens. Sanad offers features such as digital identity, electronic signatures, and personal document storage and serves as a unified gateway for accessing digital public services.

Over 800,000 users (approximately 7 percent of the population) have activated their digital identities by the end of January 2024. The government aims to increase the number of effective digital identities to 3.5 million by 2025, facilitated through user activation at banks, companies, and government service centers.

The proposed World Bank program in Jordan, funded through Program-for-Results Financing (PforR) by the World Bank, supports the roadmap for public sector modernization and digital transformation. It focuses on three pillars: service delivery, government efficiency, and transparency and accountability.

The proposed program includes four outcome-related indicators:

  1. Service delivery: Expanding reliable and comprehensive access to digital services that prioritize individuals. This involves increasing the activation and reliance on digital identity, improving the exchange of reliable person-centric data, and digitally transforming healthcare services.
  2. Government efficiency: Enhancing the professionalism of civil services, establishing a national health information exchange center, and digitizing student assessments.
  3. Transparency and accountability: Strengthening electronic information, enabling access to statistical data, and institutionalizing effective use of health-related data.
  4. Syrian refugee indicator: Facilitating their access to educational and healthcare services through digital identity.

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