World Bank extends $15 million credit facility to Djibouti to improve public service through tech
The World Bank has announced new support for Djibouti’s ongoing efforts to leverage digital technology to bring government closer to citizens and improve the impact, transparency and efficiency of its public administration.
With a $15 million credit from IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, the new project will support the roll out of digital systems to make it easier for citizens to access services, and for more efficient tax and customs administration to boost government revenues.
The four-year Public Administration Modernization Project will help the government implement the reforms, establish the legal framework and adopt the technologies necessary for digital transformation.
A principal goal will be to unify the current variety of social registries into a single, integrated national identity system (e-ID) which citizens can use to access all public services.
By the end of the project, the aim is to enroll half the population in the e-ID system, with women, who are significantly underrepresented in current identity systems, representing half of the enrolled.
“Djibouti has heard the call for improved services, and is committed to using the tools of e-government to respond to it,” said Ilyas Moussa, Djibouti’s Minister of Economy and Finance in-charge of Industry. “Working in partnership with the World Bank, we have developed a strategy for modernizing our public administration and reaping the benefits of greater transparency, inclusion and efficiency offered by digital technology.”
Along with supporting the publication of and access to available services through the government’s portal, the project will fund the piloting of a Citizen Service Center (CSC).
The CSC will offer broadband connections and function as a one-stop-shop for knowledge of and how to access services. Citizens will be consulted on the design of the CSC, to ensure they are accessible to vulnerable populations such as women, the disabled and those in rural areas.
“Djibouti is putting its citizens at the heart of its digital transformation,” said Dr. Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. “Giving citizens access to information, and the tools for holding government accountable are critical steps toward improving public services, and are central goals of the public administration modernization project.”
The project will also support the use of digital technology to increase the efficiency of tax and customs administration. The development of e-Tax and e-Customs will promote fairness and predictability, while mobilizing domestic revenues.
Digital systems remove the need for physical interactions between citizens and officials, which can often be an opportunity for corruption.
"The digital transformation of key administrations allows the government to raise revenues while investing in accessibility, fairness and efficiency,” said Robert Yungu, World Bank Senior Public Sector Specialist and co-Task Team Leader for the project, along with World Bank Information and Communications Technology Specialist, Axel Rifon-Perez.
The World Bank’s portfolio in Djibouti consists of nine IDA-funded projects totaling US$105 million. The portfolio is focused on social safety nets, energy, rural community development, urban poverty reduction, health, education, governance and private sector development, with particular emphasis on women and youth.