M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 166

Digital Government in the State of Palestine: Strategies & Recommendations

Muath Ibaid


Executive Summary

This report aims to help the UNDP/PAPP develop a strategy to achieve digital government transformation in the State of Palestine at a national and local levels.

THE PROBLEM investigated is the gap between planning and implementation of digital government transformation in the State of Palestine. Even though digital transformation has been a strategic priority for the national government since 2005, there has been very little progress made to improve the citizen’s experience while completing transactions with government entities. Additionally, in major municipalities as well as other localities, there seems to be a lack of coordination of efforts to implement digital government transformation. What we see on the ground is that ministries and localities are working in parallel instead of collaborating under a single digital transformation strategy aimed at putting the citizen at the center of service delivery.

THE METHODOLOGY followed in this report included interviews with stakeholders, a literature review of recent developments in the field of digital government, a review of reports written by international organizations on the topic of digital government in the State of Palestine, case studies from Estonia and the UK, and an analysis of the survey results from the most recent Digital Maturity Assessment performed by the Estonia e-Government Academy in 2020.

Following this methodology allowed us to produce a timeline of milestones in the Palestinian journey to achieve digital government transformation. Through this timeline, we were able to identify strengths and gaps in the design and implementation stages. We then considered best practices from external case studies to determine feasible and desirable goals for the ideal Palestinian digital government transformation. These case studies were considered alongside recognition of the uniqueness of the Palestine case, especially around exogenous political challenges.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS focus on localities and include short-term and long-term options for the UNDP/PAPP to establish a strategy to overcome the barriers that have hindered digital government transformation in the State of Palestine. We provide and discuss the following three main recommendations:

1. Increasing citizen uptake of existing digital services.
2. Improving access to WiFi and mobile networks
3. Establishing a government digital services unit for localities

WE CONCLUDE that the Palestinian government, including ministries and localities, should view digital government transformation as a fundamental shift in thinking about service design and delivery. This shift should prioritize citizen needs, as well as separate progress in information technology (ICT) from the broader goal of making government services digital by design.

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