Panoramic view of Bolivar Square, in Bogota,
Panoramic view of Bolivar Square, in Bogota, with the Cathedral and the Colombian National Capitol and Congress. Photo: Shutterstock

OECD ranks Colombia in third place when it comes to digital government

The organization's report about the matter was updated this week. Get to know the main findings about Latin America's fourth-largest economy

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has updated its Digital Government Index (DGI) this week. In it, the organization evaluates the progress that each country has made in this regard, with consolidated 2019 data. Latin America‘s fourth-largest economy, Colombia is ranked in third place.

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The country obtained a total score of 0.729, ranking third among 33 economies, behind only the United Kingdom with a score of 0.736 and Korea, in the index’s first place, with a score of 0.742 out of 1. According to the OECD, these countries’ outstanding results derive from long-term institutional arrangements and sustainable strategies.

Note: Data are not available for Australia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States of America.
Source: OECD Survey on Digital Government 1.0.

To make the index, the OECD evaluated six dimensions: digital design; government as a platform; data-driven public sector; open system by default; user-driven, and proactiveness – it was in these last two categories that Colombia did best, ranking first and second, respectively. These dimensions were evaluated through data gathered since 2018 and a survey, applied to high-level digital government officials of 29 OECD member countries and 4 non-member countries, in September 2019.

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“This is a great recognition, as it guarantees that we are on the right track and it shows that the different digital transformation strategies of different public entities are complying with the OCDE’s six principles,” ICT Minister, Karen Abudinen, told the Colombian newspaper La República.

In the other categories, Colombia also did well: in digital design and open data it positioned itself in third, and in government as a platform, fifth place. It was performance was in the open system by default, in which ranked 11.

The country was not only the best in the region in terms of Digital Government, but it also surpassed large economies such as Japan, in fourth place; Germany in 26th place, and Sweden in 33rd place. Important to point out that, for this DIG edition, data about Australia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States, were not available.

In its DGI, OECD stresses that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the capacity of governments to use digital technologies and data strategically in order to adapt to change and respond to the crisis with agility. “In this context, being able to count on a qualified public sector workforce proved to be crucial to facilitate this transition and support the uninterrupted provision of services while managing associated risks. Governments that had invested in sound digital governance, policy levers, and skills, were
better prepared to leverage digital technologies and data to provide rapid and effective responses to the COVID-19 outbreak,” wrote OECD.

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“Strategic decisions taken today to strengthen digital government will not only underpin recovery measures but will also pave the way for the
agility and resilience of the public sector in the future,” said the organization, highlighting that its DGI can be a crucial instrument in this path, since it addresses the main dimensions that can truly make a government a digital one.

OECD considers that countries scoring at the top of the ranking (above the 0.7 composite score threshold), in which Colombia is, have demonstrated solid performance, showing that their digital government policies are embedded at the core of broader policies with overarching reform efforts consolidated across several administrations.

Overall, most countries, including other Latin American ones, such as Chile (0.411), Brazil (0.519), Argentina (0.342), and Uruguay (0.602), have been able to surpass the composite score threshold of 0.5, which, according to the organization, “represents a positive yet ongoing transition towards mature digital governments”.