Chapter 4. Citizen-driven approaches for coherent and sustainable digital service delivery

This chapter analyses and discusses the digital service delivery landscape in the African Portuguese-Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste (PALOP-TL) region. It starts by analysing openness and engagement practices of citizens and businesses in the six countries. It then discusses digital identity as a key enabler of sustainable and coherent public service delivery. The third section focuses on the scope and possibilities of leapfrogging ahead in the digital service delivery paradigm through digital by design, multichannel and integrated approaches. The chapter concludes by exploring the potential of the PALOP-TL region for cross-border digital service delivery.


Openness, collaboration and value creation

Digital technologies are transforming relationships between citizens and the public sector, thereby enabling seismic shifts in the efficiency and effectiveness of public services delivery, simplifying information and communications, and improving accountability. The potential for improved transparency, optimised communication and collaboration with the ecosystem of stakeholders for value creation is being increasingly embraced by governments for smarter policy making and policy implementation.

Pillar 1 of the OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014) highlights the relevance of digital technologies for more open, inclusive, engaging and collaborative government as a means to better support economic growth and the well-being of citizens. The digital transformation requires public sectors to be able to shift from government-centred and agency-thinking mindsets to citizen-driven and commissioning-enabled cultures of action.

According to the community of bilateral and multilateral organisations that endorsed the Principles for Digital Development:1 “successful digital initiatives are rooted in an understanding of user characteristics, needs and challenges”. Applying this approach encourages governments to co-create digital tools with businesses and citizens in ways that respond to the needs of a specific country context, region and community,2 and which are tailored to fit local expectations, cultures and behaviours.

Box 4.1. Openness and co-creation: The experience of the City Government of Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (Kenya)

Resource mobilisation is a key priority for the City Government Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) in Kenya, and an area where support from businesses is critical to success. Recognising this, the government has sought to leverage the expertise and networks of private sector associations in defining new opportunities to raise public funds. Together, a new digital tool was piloted to collect input from businesses on how they could be better supported by STMA. The process also revealed gaps in the current approach to setting business tax rates that, if addressed, could increase internal revenue generation. STMA committed to continued collaboration with businesses in areas of mutual interest.

Source: Open Government Partnership (2017), What makes for successful open government co-creation,

Through “government as a platform” approaches (OECD, forthcoming a), governments are increasingly exploring opportunities to create mutual ownership and accountability processes for public value co-creation by using digital technologies and data to enable collaboration with and between societal stakeholders. Governments are also increasingly committed to being “open by default”, which involves proactively disclosing data in open formats and opening up administrative procedures by using digital technologies, unless there is a legitimate justification for not doing so. This open and collaborative policy orientation can have substantial positive impacts on civil society’s trust in public institutions.

Assessing the experience of the PALOP-TL region

Across the six PALOP-TL countries, digital technologies are widely recognised by both public and private actors as important tools to improve the transparency and integrity of the public sector and enhance citizens’ trust. The opportunity to create a more informed citizenry, namely through online public information and communication, was repeatedly referenced by interlocutors during the fact-finding missions conducted, and would build on the steps already taken across PALOP-TL countries to improve their online presence.

As yet, PALOP-TL countries are not optimising the potential to collaborate with citizens through digital technologies. Just two governments - Angola and Cabo Verde - are actively taking steps to support the co-design and co-production of policies, operations and services through digital technologies (see Figure 4.1). In Cabo Verde, private and academic stakeholders expressed an interest in being involved in the policy formulation and implementation process, in-line with the commitment of the Board of Directors of the Operational Unit for the Information Society (NOSI) (Núcleo Operacional da Sociedade de Informação) to attribute a more substantive role to non-governmental actors in the reform of the public sector, and specifically in digital government policies. The new Strategic Council of the ICT Cluster in the country, which includes representatives from the private sector and academia (see Section 3.2), is a revealing example of such a commitment.

Figure 4.1. Digital technologies for co-design and co-creation in PALOP-TL countries

Source: OECD (2018b) Survey of the Study Promoting the Digital Transformation of African Portuguese-Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste, OECD, Paris.

In Mozambique, the recently created Mozambican Association of Information Technologies Companies and Professionals (AMPETIC) has expressed a clear willingness to work collaboratively with the National Institute of Electronic Government (INAGE) (Instituto Nacional do Governo Electrónico) to support the development of digital government in the country. In Timor-Leste, the Transparency Portal is considered an important mechanism to raise the accountability of several public activities (See Box 4.2), providing citizens access to relevant information about critical activities of the government.

Box 4.2. Transparency Portal in Timor-Leste

Transparency Portal is a website ( active since 2011 that integrates:

  1. 1. The Budget Transparency Portal: presents data on state budget expenditure, execution and balance, and provides a solid platform to disaggregate expenditure data.

  2. 2. The Aid Transparency Portal: a central repository for all aid information in Timor-Leste that aims to improve aid transparency, accuracy and predictability and to ensure that the assistance provided is efficient and effective.

  3. 3. The eProcurement Portal: provides information on current tenders, including who was awarded the bid and the value of the contract.

  4. 4. The Government Results Portal: provides information on the most important government goals, projects and programmes, displaying different information for each target, including its purpose, physical and financial progress.


Although the examples mentioned above of governments’ willingness to improve transparency and to adopt an open by default policy, stakeholders largely agreed that more could be done in each of the PALOP-TL countries to optimise the use of digital technologies to collaborate and engage the public in the co-creation of public policies and in their implementation. Other priorities, including enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of existing administrative services, has taken precedence in recent years, which could partially explain why technologies have not been fully leveraged.

The ranking of PALOP-TL countries in the United Nations E-Participation Index (see Figure 4.2) seems to confirm that there is still substantial room for improvement. The E-Participation Index analyses “e-participation according to three-tiers of participation: 1) e-information – or the provision of information on the Internet; 2) e-consultation – organising public consultations online; and 3) e-decision-making – involving citizens involved in decision-making processes.” (United Nations, 2016a).3

Table 4.1. United Nations E-Participation Index: Positions of the PALOP-TL countries











Cabo Verde















Sao Tome and Principe











United Nations (2018), UN E-Government Survey 2018, New York,

United Nations (2016b), E-Government Survey 2016, New York,

In Mozambique, the Monitoring System, or Monitoria Participativa (MOPA), stands out as a particular example of a successful e-participation project for monitoring pro-poor policies in the field of waste management (see Box 4.3).

Box 4.3. The Monitoring System (MOPA) (Mozambique)

MOPA is a service based on a software platform, Ntxuva, which is designed to collect information from people via SMS, a mobile app, and a web portal. A voice interface in local languages is used to enhance access by less instructed populations. Members of the public can dial *553# or access the website at to report failure to empty waste bins, illegal dumping or inappropriate burning of garbage. The system provides visualisations and statistics originated from public information about urban services. It also promotes engagement among the local software development/innovation community. Users can add photos, comments and other clarifications for quick intervention by the city council. The Municipal Directorate of Hygiene and Cemeteries (DMSO), with the help of the municipal districts, manages and monitors the information.

Sources: United Nations (2016b), E-Government Survey 2016, New York,

Enabling open government data (OGD) would be an important milestone for PALOP-TL countries in their transition to digital government, and would be a worthy investment for these countries in the near term. Securing the availability and accessibility of OGD, and fostering its reuse by different communities across the public, private and third sectors, is an opportunity to enhance data-informed and inclusive policy decision making, stimulate innovation inside and outside of the public sector, and empower citizens to take more informed personal decisions (OECD, 2017). Transparency and the co-creation of public value are also important vehicles for social and economic development. When data is provided free of charge in machine readable formats, civil society or the private sector can create value-adding information and services, increasing the volume of private sector activities and contributing to stimulate the national economy. Increased revenue can then be returned to the government in the form of taxes (Ubaldi, 2013).

As yet, open government data strategies or policies have not been adopted by PALOP-TL countries, which is widely seen as a policy gap (see Figure 4.2). Given the priority afforded to OGD by varying stakeholders, it is anticipated that it will be introduced as part of the update or revision of digital government strategies in PALOP-TL countries in the short or medium term (see Section 3.1). Private and civil society stakeholders interviewed during the fact-finding missions see OGD as an opportunity to improve the transparency and accountability of public initiatives and stakeholders and to create new opportunities for public-private collaboration and co-creation.

Figure 4.2. Open government data strategies or policies in PALOP-TL countries

Source: OECD (2018a), Survey of the Study Promoting the Digital Transformation of African Portuguese-Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste, OECD, Paris.

The use of open source software (OSS) is another strategic policy objective that can have cross-cutting impacts on public sector activity. Although OSS is not a new policy topic in the digitalisation of public sectors, its relevance and benefits continue to be keenly discussed among digital government communities. Some of the particular benefits of OSS include: improved co-operation between the public sector through the reuse of solutions; increased involvement of the digital government ecosystem for co-value co-creation; optimisation of digital technologies through cost savings in software licencing and shared services approaches; heightened interoperability potential avoiding vendor-locked situations; and better security, personal data protection and accountability (see Figure 4.3).

Open source policies can be particularly relevant in developing country contexts as they have the potential to support the emergence of new market players. Since OSS is not dependent on licencing and is less restricted by copyright issues, strategic policies can allow national and local software developers and providers to better compete with international providers in delivering services to the public sector. Through a strategic prioritisation of open source in the public sector, combined with policies of open source research and development (R&D) in academia, governments can indirectly support the development of internal markets for digital technologies and the stimulation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industry.

Figure 4.3. Open source software potential

Although strategic policies or initiatives on OSS were not identified in the PALOP-TL region, its potential was recognised. In March 2018, a PALOP-TL Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) was organised in Luanda to exchange knowledge and explore possible future opportunities for co-operation between the six countries of the region. During this meeting, a consensus was reached on the potential of free and open source software and an agreement struck on the development of a PALOP-TL repository of applications and source codes that could be used and reused as a shared service among public sectors in the region.

Digital identity: A key enabler for the integrated development of digital government

Digital identity mechanisms allow the common identification of citizens and businesses by different levels and sectors of government, enabling smarter, more secure and better tailored public services through the better profiling of citizens. Proper digital identity mechanisms are able to enhance the management of data, better determine the identity of service users and develop an integrated view of users’ needs and interactions with the public sector. Digital authentication and digital signature functions, typically integrated in the identity framework, allow simpler and more effective interactions with the government, substantially reducing red tape. Overall, digital identity systems act as an important lever to support a coherent, efficient and sustainable digital transformation of the public sector.

Multilateral agencies attach great importance to the development of digital identity systems as they can help improve the integrity and effectiveness of civil registration systems. Such systems are key to ensure the exercise of citizen rights (such as the right to vote and access to justice), to provide access to basic services (such as education or social assistance), to ensure the fulfilment of civic duties (such as paying taxes), and to facilitate cross-border movements (European Commission, 2017).

The digitalisation of civil registries is a necessary pre-condition for the development of a public digital identity system,4 and is an initiative in which all PALOP-TL countries have invested, with different levels of progress (see Table 4.2).

Table 4.2. The path towards digital identity in the six PALOP-TL countries


PALOP-TL – Progress towards digital identity


In November 2017, Angola made an important step in this area with the launch of the new Identity Document (Bilhete de Identidade). The new document includes a chip that can store citizens’ information, such as tax or electoral numbers. A QR code (Quick Response Code) allows for the contactless and agile use of this document by citizens. The new identity card is a visible output of the Platform of Integrated Management of Civil and Criminal Identification (Plataforma de Gestão Integrada da Identificação Civil e Criminal) that began to be developed at the beginning of 2017. The development of a digital identity solution in the new card is a short-term priority.

Cabo Verde

The new National Identification Card (Cartão Nacional de Identificação), launched in January 2018, allows the identification of citizens through digital authentication and digital signatures. The card is part of the National System of Civil Identification and Authentication (Sistema Nacional de Identificação e Autenticação Civil, SNIAC), managed by the Ministry of Justice and developed by NOSI. Besides the National Identification Card, SNIAC is also responsible for managing the electronic passport (which includes biometric information), the titles of residence and the electoral register. Cabo Verde benefits, in this sense, from a centralised and cross-cutting system of civil identification, which constitutes an important enabler for digital government development in the country.


Consolidation of the civil register is underway through the digitisation of civil records. A public digital identity is a future policy priority.


Mozambique is currently focused on developing a public system of electronic certification (Sistema de Certificação Eletrónica do Estado), which will also allow the use of electronic signatures in the country. Systems development will begin in 2018 and will serve to improve the security of electronic transactions between the public administration, citizens and businesses.

Sao Tome and Principe

The civil register is being digitised and the development of a public digital identity framework is a future priority.


The government has reinforced its capacity to issue the Identity Document (Bilhete de Identidade) in the municipalities. The Bilhete de Identidade was an important development towards a totally digitised civil registry, and creating a digital identity is seen as the next priority.

Note: A Quick Response Code, currently known as QR code, is a machine readable optical label used to provide a link to a specific online address.

The six countries of the PALOP-TL region are in very different stages of digital identity development, and Cabo Verde is the only one that provides an integrated solution.5

Timor-Leste is taking all necessary measures to restore civil registration services and enable the efficient issuance and assignment of identity documents to its citizens.6 In Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea-Bissau, a significant proportion of the population is not registered in the civil registry,7 but these governments are taking steps to rectify this and to issue identification documents to all of their citizens (see Chapter 2). In these contexts, although the digitalisation of registries and the issuance of digital ID cards8 are considered priorities, these countries are still at a preliminary stage of the civil registration process, so these tasks should also be accompanied by digital authentication and signing capabilities.

Mozambique has focused more attention on the state's electronic certification system, a mechanism that allows qualified electronic signature and other electronic security services to be activated with public keys, than on issuing digital identity cards or providing digital identity features. The low rate of digitalisation of registers, the multiplicity of identification numbers, which vary according to each sector, and the difficulties of cross-referencing information act to delay the process of developing citizens' digital identity.

Angola has recently taken a giant step towards digital identity by creating a new ID card that includes a chip that stores personal information about the holder and is readable through a QR code. The development of a digital identity solution (including digital authentication and digital signature) can also be achieved in the near term.

In Cabo Verde, the newly created national identification card is a document capable of going beyond the identification function. It is an instrument of interaction with the digital world, offering identification, authentication and digital signature capacities, thus opening up many possibilities and advantages for both the citizen and administration in terms of modernisation and administrative simplification.

The efforts underway in all the PALOP-TL countries reflect a clear understanding and commitment to digital identity as a key digital government enabler, and the potential for short, mid and long-term developments in this area look promising across the region.

Foundations for sound digital service delivery

Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public services delivery for citizens and businesses is one of the most common motivations of national e-government/digital government strategies, and online public services delivery are often the most visible result of digital government policies. New digital technologies, such as social media, cloud computing, mobile terminals and blockchain, also offer new opportunities for public service delivery.

A major trend in the development of digital public services delivery is the increase in mobile technologies and applications, which entail new development opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable groups in the population, and drive initiatives to promote sustainable development and new ways of providing services. The accessibility and availability of mobile devices has had a tremendous impact on the shift from fixed to mobile public services, especially in developing countries, including PALOP-TL countries, although online service delivery remains a challenge for least developed countries and small island developing states (United Nations 2016a).

The progressive digitalisation of economies requires public digital services (OECD, forthcoming b). Beyond introducing digital technologies into public sector activities, to reproduce analogue services and undertake administrative processes in a digital way, the transformational objective is to integrate and embed digital technologies into the modernisation of public administrations across policy areas and at all levels of government (OECD, 2014a). This corresponds to a commitment to being “digital by design” in policy formulation, decision making, implementation and delivery of public services, and can serve to enable countries to leapfrog through different stages of public services delivery development.

Being digital by design implies that new public services are developed digitally at design or inception, and that governments adopt and maintain a multichannel approach to public services delivery where online and mobile services coexist with mechanisms of face-to-face or digitally assisted service delivery. This is not be confused with being digital by default, where services are delivered mostly online, rendering new potential forms of exclusion for those without access to the Internet, and should not discriminate against segments of the population without Internet access and basic user skills (see Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.4. Digital by default vs digital by design

Improved service delivery through digital technologies is an important mechanism to promote the trust of citizens and generate positive perceptions of the public sector.

From primarily analogue to multichannel service delivery

Multichannel service delivery can add considerable value to public services delivery in developing countries (see Figure 4.5). According to the United Nations (2012), “multichannel service delivery is the provision of public services by various means in an integrated and co-ordinated way. Citizens can make selections according to their needs and circumstances and receive consistent information and services across channels resulting in an increase in their satisfaction and trust in government.” The multiplication of channels can help overcome geographical, social and economic barriers for the delivery of services, which is particularly important for PALOP-TL countries.

The delivery of services through multichannel approaches is not new – face-to-face, telephone and regular mail delivery of services have co-existed for a long time – however, digital technologies have multiplied the types of channels and platforms now available. Web portals, mobile apps or SMS can make public services more readily available in remote areas. Given its reach across generations and socio-economic contexts, social media is also seen as a useful means by which to provide general and personalised information to citizens and businesses. Assisted digital services delivery is also a means to enable otherwise excluded groups (e.g. elderly, citizens with special needs) to access public services with the assistance of a professional.

Figure 4.5. Multichannel service delivery for development contexts

PALOP-TL countries are making use of varying channels for public service delivery. The more innovative examples include advanced mobile service delivery mechanisms, such as the Casa do Cidadão Móvel (Mobile Citizen Houses) and the National Telemedicine Service adopted in Cabo Verde, which make public and specialised medical services available across the nine populated islands of the country (see Box 4.4).

Box 4.4. The Mobile Citizen Houses (Casa do Cidadão Móvel) and the National Telemedicine Service in Cabo Verde

In Cabo Verde, the Mobile Citizen Houses (Casa do Cidadão Móvel) is a project designed to provide public services across the country. The project uses vehicles fitted with communications equipment to enable public officials to provide a range of services (e.g. creation of a company, issuing a civil certificate) to citizens in remote regions of the country. The mobile platform Connect Me (MKonekta), developed by NOSI, also makes citizen services available online (e.g. birth certificate, property certificate).

In 2012, to address human, spatial and financial resource constraints, the Government of Cabo Verde created a National Telemedicine Service to provide specialised medical services across the nine populated islands of the country. The service comprises 12 telemedicine centres installed in central and regional hospitals throughout the archipelago, and includes teleconsultation services, distance vocational training services and a virtual library. As Cabo Verde widens the coverage area for telemedicine, the 24 current medical specialties (offered throughout the country) will also be expanded.

Source: OECD (2018a) Survey of the Study Promoting the Digital Transformation of African Portuguese-Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste; NOSI (2018), Centros de Telemedicina inaugurados em Santa Cruz e em Tarrafal de São Nicolau,

Mobile technologies (e.g. SMS) are used to enable tax and revenue collection (as in Angola) or the delivery of health and education services (as in Timor-Leste). At the same time, several PALOP-TL countries have been implementing projects for assisted access and training in ICT. Two particular examples include, Walking with ICT (Andando com as TIC), which has been implemented in Angola in recent years and provides access to the Internet and training for the population in remote areas of the country (improvements in the dissemination of information on public services is also envisaged in the future); and the creation of CCI (Internet Community Centres, Centros Comunitários da Internet) in Timor-Leste, where the government has been working with the support of Timor Telecom9 to create a network of CCI around the country. These are equipped with computers and provide free Internet access to the population. They are also used for basic ICT training and to provide information to the population about public services.

With several important experiences of multichannel service delivery already underway, PALOP-TL countries have much to gain from replicating, scaling up or expanding these approaches in other sectors or at different levels of government. The opportunity also exists for PALOP-TL countries to share knowledge with each other on what does and does not work or any lessons learned.

Integrated service delivery in PALOP-TL countries

PALOP-TL countries are adopting a range of measures to improve the quality and effectiveness of their public service delivery, many of which are focused on the development of online services.

In Angola, the online provision of public services in sectoral ministries has improved substantially in recent years. The Employment Portal (Portal do Emprego,, the Businesses Unique Counter (Guichet Único da Empresa, and the Taxes Portal (Portal do Contribuinte) ( reflect a government that is committed to digital services delivery platforms.

Other initiatives align with efforts to provide services to citizens through the creation of one-stop shops, both digital and face-to-face. However, the quality of these initiatives has shown uneven results, and there is room for substantial improvement. For example, through the Citizen’s Portal (Portal do Cidadão,, citizens have online access to information on the services of several sectors of the government (e.g. education, health, justice), however, in the vast majority of cases, the portal gives preference to information services rather than transactional services. Similarly, SIAC (Integrated Service Delivery for the Citizen, Serviço Integrado de Atendimento ao Cidadão) is a physical network of one-stop shops that provides services around the country with an accompanying portal directing citizens and companies to related services online. However, the online services are typically disconnected from the provision of face-to-face services, and still do not allow online operations to be performed without reverting to SIAC one-stop shop counters (requests for certificates, follow-up of processes, etc.).

Among the six PALOP-TL countries, Cabo Verde has the most mature and integrated service delivery system, and is considered a good practice example for the region and for the African context in general. Alongside a physical network of one-stop shops, the Casa do Cidadão, an online one-stop shop, the Porton di nos Ilha ( provides centralised access to all services of the government. Organised through life events and available in a mobile responsive format, the portal has a section where citizens can provide feedback about available public services. However, in Cabo Verde, as elsewhere, the government should continue its integration efforts, since several sectorial portals continue to exist, which duplicate public sector efforts and add unnecessary complexity to the citizen’s interaction with the public administration (e.g. registries, notary and identification portal -; Ministry of Health and Social Security -; National Institute of Social Security -

In Mozambique, the Government’s Portal (Portal do Governo, allows access to information about different public services. The project e-Bau is a signature one-stop shop for businesses in the region that aggregates services from different public institutions. The MCNET platform ( is also an online single window for customs that integrates several services related to foreign trade and compliance with legal requirements for import, export and transit of goods (see Box 2.2, Chapter 2). The portals of the Tax Authority ( and of the National Directorate of Registers and Notaries, as well as the limited service orientation of the Government Portal, signal that the country would benefit from better integrated digital service delivery. Given the level of maturity presented by Mozambique in several other digital government domains of analysis, the absence of an online one-stop shop capable of integrating services for citizens and businesses is a noticeable gap.

Box 4.5. Max Stahl Audiovisual Center (CAMSTL) in Timor-Leste

CAMSTL undertakes the preservation, cataloguing, archiving and disclosure of documents in audiovisual media format (currently there are about 3 000 hours of audiovisual material archived on a server installed in Dili, with a replica at the University of Coimbra, Portugal). In a country where books are scarce and expensive and not written in local languages, the educational content (visual and verbal) of the archive is an important vehicle for stimulating Timorese interest in the history of their country (especially those living in rural areas). In this way, it makes an important contribution towards the nation building process in the country.

Source: OECD (2018b), Fact finding interview - Centro Audiovisual Max Stahl Timor-Leste, February 2018

In Timor-Leste, information about public sector services is provided online through sector agency portals (for example the Ministry of Justice [], the Ministry of Finance [] and the Service of Registry and Business Verification SERVE [Serviço de Registo e Verificação Empresarial,]). CAMSTL is one example of how civil society can actively participate in the development of a country through digital technology (see Box 4.5). Otherwise, the digitalisation of public services delivery is largely sector driven, which can lead to fragmentation and the proliferation of differing approaches. A new National Policy for ICT (Política Nacional para as Tecnologias de Informação e Comunicações), approved in February 2017, seeks to address this challenge by prioritising the development of a unique Interactive government portal where public agencies can share information and resources to support more integrated services delivery.10

In Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe, the delivery of online services is in the very early stages of development, and public portals are still being made available interactively. One initiative, the Integrated School Management System (Sistema Integrado de Gestão Escolar) in Sao Tome and Principe stands out as a useful effort to overcome structural obstacles and use digital technologies to support the country’s development process (see Box 4.6).

Box 4.6. Integrated School Management System in Sao Tome and Principe

The Integrated School Management System (Sistema Integrado de Gestão Escolar, SIGE) is a digital application that intends to comply with the commitment of the Ministry of Education of Sao Tome and Principe to improve the management of all areas of educational institutions, the development of school administrative functions and the optimisation of information flows.

SIGE organises and provides integrated statistical information and supports the academic and pedagogical management of schools, as well as the management of the educational system in general (including school enrolment). Funded by the World Bank, it is currently in the implementation phase.

Source: Ministério da Educação, Cultura e Ciência (2016), Governo lança Projeto de Sistema Integrado de Gestão Escolar,

Across PALOP-TL countries, the scope or reach of integrated digital services delivery differs depending on the country’s level of development. Cabo Verde is in a more advanced stage, followed closely by Angola. Mozambique stands slightly behind, but with potential to bridge the gap given the existing public services already available online.

Leapfrogging digital public services delivery

The previous sections highlighted the considerable efforts of PALOP-TL countries in improving service delivery through the introduction of digital technologies. Angola, Cabo Verde and Mozambique are more advanced than Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste, and yet public and private stakeholders interviewed during the fact-finding missions across the six countries generally agreed that the absence of coherent digital public services delivery policies in the countries have resulted in a fragmented, agency-centric online approach.

Developing countries can take divergent pathways to leapfrog and transition from manual administrative systems (analogue government) to citizen-driven, digital by design approaches (digital government). The strategies adopted should also be flexible enough to accompany different stages of development. The first step is to adopt or leverage digital solutions or technologies to enhance the core functions of government (see Chapter 2). The second is to enable coherent, cross-cutting co-ordination and institutional arrangements to support digital government development, and to ensure that these are underpinned by clear institutional, policy and legal frameworks (see Chapter 3) and key enablers (such as digital identity mechanisms). Vision, leadership and institutional co-ordination mechanisms supporting these public administrative reforms also play a crucial role in the adoption of coherent and innovative approaches.

Building on the progress highlighted in this review, PALOP-TL countries are encouraged to prioritise the creation of several basic pre-requisites (e.g. digitalisation of registries, updated legal and regulatory frameworks), and the six dimensions of digital government as a basis for their digital service delivery policies (see Box 4.7).

Box 4.7. The six dimensions of digital government
  1. 1. From a user-centred to a user-driven administration: A government that adopts approaches and takes actions to let the citizens and businesses determine and communicate their own needs to drive the design of policies and public services.

  2. 2. From reactive to proactive policy making and service delivery: A government that designs polices and services in anticipation of societal and economic developments and around related users’ needs and brings a service to users before it is requested. The same applies to the release of data as open data (proactively) rather than reacting to a request for access to public sector information.

  3. 3. From an information-centred government to a data-driven public sector: A government that is capable of anticipating societal trends, understanding users’ needs, and transforming the design, delivery and monitoring of public policies and services through the management and use of data.

  4. 4. From the digitalisation of existing processes to digital by design: A government that takes into account the full potential of digital technologies and data right from the start when designing policies and services, thereby mobilising new technologies to rethink, re-engineer and simplify internal processes and procedures in order to deliver the same efficient, sustainable and citizen-driven public sector, regardless of the channel used by the user to interact with the public authorities.

  5. 5. From government as a service provider to government as a platform for public value co-creation: A government that uses digital technologies and data to enable collaboration with and between societal stakeholders in order to harness their creativity and capacities to address challenges facing a country.

  6. 6. From access to information to open by default: A government that has committed to proactively disclosing data in open formats and to opening up its processes supported by digital technologies, unless there is a legitimate justification not to.

Note: The dimension “user-driven administration" is aligned with the principle “design with the user” of the “Principles for Digital Development”, endorsed by several multilateral and bilateral donor organisations (see Chapter 2, The dimension “data-driven public sector" is aligned with the principle “be data-driven” and the dimension “open by default" is aligned with the principle “use open standards, open data, open source, and open innovation”.

Source: OECD (forthcoming a) Issue Paper on "The Digital Government Framework"

Towards cross-border service delivery in the PALOP-TL region

The OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies (OECD, 2014) underlines the potential of international co-operation (key recommendation 8) for knowledge sharing, synergies beyond national borders and joint efforts for the definition of common goals among countries’ public sectors. The progressive integration and strategic use of digital technologies in public service delivery creates new possibilities for the provision of services beyond national borders. Since online services can now be accessed independently of the physical location of the user, this locational shift has resulted in an important change in the public service paradigm. Services need to be prepared to be provided to users independently from the locus of access. Beyond delivering services to its citizens, digital technologies also create new prospects for public sectors worldwide to offer integrated services to foreign citizens or businesses, provided basic security conditions are met and that citizens offer their consent to these operations. The technological prospects for cross-border services delivery are significant where appropriate mechanisms of data sharing, common recognition of digital certificates and digital platform connections are adopted. For instance, to promote deeper economic and social integration between different European countries, national public administrations are progressively presenting the possibility of opening a company abroad, sharing civil registry certificates with foreign public services, or exchanging patient summaries between national health services.

Box 4.8. Facilitating cross-border services in Africa

Tunisia and Senegal have been using blockchain technology to improve their financial domestic and cross-border transactions, eliminating inefficiencies and high transaction costs.

In 2015, La Poste Tunisienne (the Tunisian postal service) started operating an electronic payment system called the e-Dinar. Customers establish an account and replenish it by purchasing credit at a post office. E-Dinar is used, for example, to make instant mobile money transfers, pay for goods and services online and in person, send remittances and pay bills. La Poste Tunisienne strictly controls the issuance and circulation of the e-Dinar to prevent it from being used for illegal transactions. Senegal has followed Tunisia’s footsteps by launching a new national digital currency, the eCFA, based on cryptocurrency blockchain technology. The eCFA high-security digital instrument can be held in all mobile money and e-money wallets and is compatible with other digital cash systems in Africa. The currency is secured by cryptographic protocols to ensure that it cannot be counterfeited. The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which serves countries using the CFA franc, has already drawn up its own e-currency regulations and will be responsible for the currency’s distribution across the region in Phase 2. It is expected to be circulated in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Togo. These examples demonstrate that technological leapfrogging could help African countries to bypass stages of technological development and adopt the latest technological advances.

Note: The CFA franc is the name of two currencies, guaranteed by the French treasury, used in West and Central African countries. Both currencies are pegged to the Euro.

Source: African Business Magazine (2017), Senegal creates digital currency history,

In line with the progressive integration of technologies in services and processes, governments of PALOP-TL countries have intensified co-operation in e-government/digital government domains in recent years. With the support of the Portuguese-Speaking Countries Community (CPLP), substantial investments have been made in deepening the channels of communication and reinforcing the collaboration and trust of senior digital government officials in these countries.

Building on common cultural ties, the significant movement of citizens in the region, institutional and legal similarities, and intense economic relations, PALOP-TL governments could work to explore the development of cross-border services. To start exploring this potential, particular attention could be given to the alignment of legal frameworks, the adoption of common data standards, the interoperability of digital identity mechanisms, and mutual recognition of digital certificates.

The selection of services to start this co-operation could also be prioritised as a first step towards cross-border services integration. For example, the ambition in Timor-Leste to establish a single electronic window to integrate trading procedures between CPLP countries and create links between CPLP and ASEAN countries could be an important basis for PALOP-TL co-operation in the future (Ministry of Finance of Timor-Leste, 2018). This work could consider synergies with the experience of the MCNET project in Mozambique (, which also functions as a single window for external commerce (see Chapter 2, Box 2.2). Another example would be cross-border services to enable the creation of a company. Building on Angola’s Businesses Unique Counter (Guichet Único da Empresa,, Cabo Verde’s Business in One Day (Empresa no Dia) project and the e-Bau project in Mozambique, and extending these efforts across countries, could have important economic spin-offs for the countries involved.

The PALOP-TL regional context provides an interesting basis to leverage cross-national co-operation in order to achieve common goals around shared priority policy areas. Building on several years of collaboration between the entities of the six countries that co-ordinate digital government, the development of cross-border services would represent an ambitious but concrete goal to nurture digital-driven co-operation across the public sectors of the region in coming years.


African Business Magazine, (2017), Senegal creates digital currency history,

European Commission (2017), Digital4Development: mainstreaming digital technologies and services into EU Development Policy, European Commission, Brussels,

Ministry of Finance of Timor-Leste (2018), National Single Window,

Ministério da Educacão, Cultura e Ciência (2016), Governo lança Projeto de Sistema Integrado de Gestão Escolar,

NOSI (2018), Centros de Telemedicina inaugurados em Santa Cruz e em Tarrafal de São Nicolau,

OECD (forthcoming a), Issue Paper on "The Digital Government Framework", OECD, Paris.

OECD (forthcoming b), The Digital Transformation of the Public Sector: helping Governments Respond to the needs of Networked Societies, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2018a) Survey of the Study Promoting the Digital Transformation of African Portuguese-Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste, OECD, Paris.

OECD (2018b), Fact finding interview - Centro Audiovisual Max Stahl Timor-Leste, February 2018.

OECD (2017), Government at a Glance 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014), Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, OECD, Paris,

Ohada (2017), Déploiement du RCCM informatisé : après le Mali et le Burkina Faso, la Guinée Bissau reçoit la solution logicielle et des équipements informatiques,

Open Government Partnership (2017), What makes for successful Open Government co-creation?,

Portal do Governo de Moçambique (2015), Inaugurado Centro de Dados do Governo,

Resolução do Governo N.º 9/2017 de 15 de Fevereiro, Política Nacional para as Tecnologias de Informação e Comunicações (TIC) (2017 a 2019), Dili.

The New Times (2015), Tigo launches cross border mobile money services between Rwanda and DRC,

Ubaldi, B. (2013), “Open Government Data: Towards Empirical Analysis of Open Government Data Initiatives”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 22, OECD Publishing, Paris,

United Nations (2018), UN E-Government Survey 2018, New York,

United Nations (2016a), UN E-Government Development Index 2016, New York,

United Nations (2016b), E-Government Survey 2016, New York,

United Nations (2012), UN E-Government Survey 2012, New York.

World Bank (2018), ID4D – Identification for Development,


← 1. Currently endorsed by 88 organisations, including USAID, UNICEF, NDI, Grameen Foundation, Intra-Health International, SIDA and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

← 2. In line with the 2nd principle, called “Understanding the Existing Ecosystem”.

← 3. The most common e-participation tools and activities include, but are not limited to: information provision online, including open government data; e-campaigning, e-petitioning; co-production and collaborative e-environments, including innovation spaces, hackathons, crowdfunding; public policy discourses, including crowdsourcing; online consultation and deliberation; argument mapping; and e-polling, e-voting (United Nations, 2016b).

← 4. However, digitalisation should not be introduced in a vacuum, but as part of a set of structural measures to support civil registers. In order to improve the integrity, effectiveness, and completeness of the civil registration there is a need to tackle the reasons why individuals do not register, the technical failures of the system and corruption in implementation (European Commission, 2017).

← 5. Cabo Verde is in the most advanced stage of its development, benefiting, in this sense, from a centralised and cross-cutting system of civil identification that constitutes an important enabler for digital government development in the country. Nevertheless, additional efforts seem required to ensure that public sector institutions across different sectors of government are able to benefit from this important infrastructure, offering citizens and businesses more coherent, convenient and sustainable processes and services. After having successfully established a national identification card, the Government of Cabo Verde has now turned its focus to ensuring its effective use. A strong mobilisation of the public institutions to adopt the new digital authentication and digital signature mechanisms will be required. For instance, this should be assumed as a requisite when procuring new solutions, when applying to any kind of public funding of projects or when presenting cost-benefit analysis of the investments to be made (see Section 3.4). In addition, communication campaigns to inform citizens and businesses about the benefits of using these new digital tools are also an important mechanism to generate the necessary demand and raise the expectations of the digital government ecosystem of stakeholders.

← 6. During and even after the Indonesian occupation, many Timorese were left without documentation, and many have not even been registered.

← 7. In Guinea-Bissau, about two thirds of the population is not yet registered in the civil registry.

← 8. Digital ID cards are cards containing machine-readable information about their holder, such as their tax payer number and electoral number.

← 9. A telecommunications service provider.

← 10. Resolução do Governo N.º 9/2017 de 15 de Fevereiro.

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