[SE29-ICT] GovTech in the Global South: Harnessing ICT to Transform Governments and Markets

DAY 3 – Friday 29 June – 14:00-15:30

Swiss Tech | Room 2C | Level Garden 
Session Leader
Nathan Wangusi
IBM Research Africa, Kenya
Dr. Nathan Wangusi is a Research Scientist at IBM Research Africa in the water and public sector. In the water sector, he focuses on developing decision support systems and enhancing financial inclusivity within water stressed communities. In the public sector, he focuses on optimizing service delivery and enhancing trade competitiveness for African governments.
Anne Salim
Intelipro, Kenya
Anne has worked in several areas and diversified her skills to specialise in ICT for Education, Research Consulting in Monitoring and Evaluation, Project Management and Product development. As an ICT for Education Specialist, Anne studies the growth and management of ICT Education implementation in the areas of mobile, eLearning and offline learning. Anne currently works at iHub as a Product Specialist designing programs at the iHub. She was previously the COO at Eneza Education. In her spare time you can find Anne applying design thinking processes to ICT programs in education in Kenya as well as facilitating Hackathon events.
Technologies that enhance government oversight and regulatory functions (e.g. GovTech and RegTech) can rapidly accelerate global development by improving public sector performance, accountability, and the functioning of markets. This has particular promise in the developing country context, given high levels of corruption, fraud, and informality. GovTech automates the capture, processing, and analysis of large administrative data sets by integrating sensing, machine learning (ML), and other computational tools into complex government workflows. RegTech uses ML, blockchain, and related technologies to enhance regulatory compliance, especially in the financial sector. The resulting innovations can enhance the efficiency of public sector agents, reduce the costs of legal compliance, and level the playing field by automating government functions (thereby disrupting networks of patronage and corruption). Recent examples include biometric authentication systems to target and deliver public services (Aadhaar in India) and ML algorithms to detect corporate tax evasion (India) and bid-rigging in public sector procurements (Brazil). This session will invite examples of govtech and regtech research deployments in the global South, exploring the impacts of these technologies on government performance and communities. The panel will also discuss how academics can maneuver the complex partnerships required to carry out research at such large scale.
Panelists and Abstracts
Breakdowns and Repairs in Aadhaar-linked Public Distribution Systems– Learnings from Rajasthan.
Preeti Mudliar1
1International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore
Presenting author’s email address: preeti.mudliar@iiitb.ac.in
Biography of Presenting Author: Preeti Mudliar is an assistant professor at IIIT-Bangalore. Her research interests include infrastructure studies, gender and technology, and digital media. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas, Austin. She was earlier a researcher with the Human Interactions group at Xerox Research Centre, India in Bangalore. Her previous work experiences include a stint as a journalist with The Indian Express and a lecturer in Communication Studies at the University of Pune. 
This abstract seeks to engage with biometric infrastructures and their assemblages to critically think through the many different ways that politics, socialities, and subjects are embedded in the use, breakdown, and repair of infrastructures. It explores the conceptualisation and implementation of biometric identification as an infrastructural foundation for the delivery of social welfare schemes and locates its interrogations in the context of India’s Aadhaar database that is linked to the delivery of foodgrains for beneficiaries of the state’s social welfare public distribution system (PDS). In this paper, I discuss the breakdowns and repairs that beneficiaries of the Aadhaar-linked foodgrain distribution encounter in the state of Rajasthan, India.
Did Demonetization Enable Digital Money Transactions in e-Public Services Delivery? Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India
Sundar Balakrishna1
1Information Technology Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada, India.
Presenting author’s email address: sundarb@iima.ac.in
Biography of Presenting Author: Sundar Balakrishna is an officer from the Indian Forest Service, presently serving as Commissioner, Electronic Services Delivery, and Government of Andhra Pradesh. He is also the CEO, Andhra Pradesh Information Technology Academy. He holds a PhD (economics area) from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmadabad, and an MBA (finance concentration) from IIM, Indore. He also teaches economics as guest faculty at IIMs Indore and Trichy.
The study examines the socioeconomic dynamics of the Government’s push for cashless transactions triggered due to the demonetization of high value currency notes by the Government of India on 8th November 2016 with special reference to the Government Electronic Services Delivery in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. For this purpose, the study analyses the daily revenue collections from e-public services during the said period through the cash and digital channels as a time series data. Since there is a bilateral causality between the use of cash and digital payments for Government services by the citizens, vector error correction mechanisms are employed to model this economic phenomenon. The analysis show that the citizens prefer cash modes of payment to digital payment solutions to avail e-public services due to transaction costs. 
The Sharing Economy and the Global South Development
Maria Pouri1
1University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Presenting author’s email address: pouri@ifi.uzh.ch
Biography of Presenting Author: Maria Pouri is currently a PhD student in the Informatics and Sustainability Research group at the Department of Informatics, the University of Zurich. She holds a M.Sc. degree in ICT for Development a B.Sc. degree in IT Engineering. After graduating with a master’s degree from the University of Manchester, she became a member of Iran’s Association of ICT and has been a researcher in the field of Informatics since 2016.
The rapid growth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has imposed its presence on the thinking and practicing development policies in both developed and developing countries. ICT has enabled new forms of business conduction and economic models called “the digitally enabled sharing economy”. The sharing economy in its today’s form has been enabled, facilitated and expanded at scale through digitalization and developments in ICT. The sharing economy increases employment, generates extra income, and provides access to a variety of resources at lower prices. However, it poses challenges to its participants, particularly to workers and consumers. The challenges and issues of the sharing economy mainly pertain to policy-making and practicing law in it. By enacting regulations that protect all parties, local governments can support and promote the social and economic opportunities in the sharing economy. The socio-economic risks of the sharing economy can be also diminished under such protective regulations.