Improving eGovernment Services in Uzbekistan: Knowledge Exchange with Malaysia to Develop Policy and Regulatory Capacity
The Government of Uzbekistan wanted to improve e-services to its citizens, businesses, and government for greater efficiency, data availability, and transparency. However, the Government lacked the appropriate regulatory and policy framework. Malaysia, among the leading countries in the developing world to embark upon implementing e-government services, offered Uzbek officials an opportunity to discuss eGovernment practices with representatives from all levels of government.
The Government of Uzbekistan wanted to improve its e-services to its citizens, businesses, and government operations for greater efficiency, data availability, transparency, and accountability. The information and communication technology (ICT) adoption rates in Uzbekistan are relatively low compared to other states in the region. Falling far behind in rankings of East Asian emerging economies, in 2010 Uzbekistan ranked 87 out of 104 countries. At that time Uzbekistan worked with the Republic of Korea, which was ranked #1, to develop an e-Government Master Plan to reinforce the ICT structure, including strengthening the transmission system in Talimarjan, establish e-procurement to improve the efficiency of internal administration, and realize local e-government. Although the Government has made significant progress in establishing key policies, in general, it has not established the appropriate regulatory and policy framework to maximize the benefits of e-government. Adding to this challenge, many organizations charged with achieving the development goal are underperforming.
Malaysia is among the leading countries in the developing world to embark upon a move toward e-government services. The Malaysian leadership has invested in the development of its ICT sector, and e-government in particular, to help build necessary infrastructure and facilities. Eight flagship e-government applications are at various stages of implementation. The provision of online services has made a fundamental difference in public access to information, improved efficiency, and the virtual distance between the Government and its citizens. Public agency websites provide updated information about activities and programs as well as feedback options to allow users to express their views, needs, and problems.
The Uzbek Government recognized the significance of an exchange with Malaysia where Uzbek officials could gain a better understanding of policy development, inter-institutional collaboration, and leadership around e-government that could lead to right-on-time development of the Uzbek reform strategy. The two-day visit to Kuala Lumpur took place at the end of June 2014. The eight delegates from Uzbekistan included representatives from the Cabinet of Ministers; State Committee from Communications, Information and Telecommunication Technologies; Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population; Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment, and Trade; and Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Malaysia. The study tour provided an opportunity to visit and discuss e-government practices with representatives from private organizations and all levels of government. The delegation visited several facilities, including the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia; the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU); Multimedia Development Corporation; CyberSecurity Malaysia; Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission; and International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threat (IMPACT), MEASAT Satellite Systems, which could facilitate further expansion of cybersecurity and telecom services in Malaysia.
- CyberSecurity Malaysia expressed willingness to explore support for continuing training programs for Uzbek officials.
- Officials will further explore knowledge-sharing opportunities between the two countries given the warm relationships during the exchange.
- Uzbek officials developed an action plan for e-government services.
- All agencies agreed to coordinate and collaborate on developing an action plan led by the State Committee for Communication, Information and Telecommunication Technologies (SCCITT).
- Participants viewed firsthand the actual implementation of e-government programs to understand and visualize the various technical solutions.
- Critical and relevant lessons from Malaysian e-governance models were identified with particular emphasis on linkages between ICT and broad-based development in private sector, agriculture, education, health, water, and social development of rural and urban areas; the lessons learned from the design and implementation of e-services in Malaysia have been incorporated into at least one e-service in Uzbekistan.
- The challenges in effective ICT application and key factors in ICT design and implementation for development projects and programs were better understood.
- Geographic proximity helps to reduce the cost of travel in terms of flight time and cost.
- Allow enough time for preparation and arrangement of the meetings in the knowledge-providing country.
- Collect information from the knowledge-receiving country on which subtopics within the broader e-government topic would be of interest to participants.
- For efficiency, have a translator with knowledge of sector-specific terminology.
- Timing for the meetings needs to account for time needed for translation.
- Match seniority levels of both countries’ participant for the visit.
- Ensure involvement of all key stakeholders from various organizations in the specific sector.
The World Bank team supports the initiatives of the Government of Uzbekistan through funding under the Korean Trust Fund. The UZ-ICT and eGovernment Development Technical Assistance supported the knowledge exchange with additional funds to cover travel and costs for a local consultant from Kuala Lumpur. The grant helped set up the exchange activity, which increased the probability of getting IDF and other resources. The South-South Exchange Trust Fund will be used as supplemental funding to support the direct client request for more learning activities. Participants from the World Bank included Mr. Deepak Bhatia, Lead E-Government Specialist; Ms. Seda Pahlavooni, E-Government Specialist;
Mr. Masatake Yamamichi, Consultant; Mr. Sergiu Conovalu, Consultant; and Ms. Enkhbolor Gantulga, Consultant.
- Government of Uzbekistan International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threat (IMPACT),
- State Committee for Communication, Information and Telecommunication Technologies (SCCITT),
- Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia,
- Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU),
- Multimedia Development Corporation,
- CyberSecurity Malaysia,
- Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission,
- International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threat (IMPACT), MEASAT Satellite Systems
Uzbek officials are moving toward adopting/adapting at least one assessment/training program focused on the IT/ITES sector from Malaysia for application in Uzbekistan. CyberSecurity Malaysia expressed willingness to explore support for providing training programs for Uzbek officials. The officials would further explore the opportunities to expand knowledge sharing and representatives from various agencies from the Uzbek delegation expressed interest in further collaborating with respective agencies to learn about the delivery of the e-services. There is a follow-up request from the Government of Uzbekistan for e-government activities. If the request comes about, then collaboration and exchange with the Malaysian Government will continue.
- Mr. Zokhiriddin Mutalov, Leading Specialist, Information-Analytical Department, Cabinet of Ministers Office
- Mr. Abdulkhalil Kamalov, Head, Division of Development of Centralized Database, e-Government Centre, State Committee for Communication, Information and Telecommunication Technologies
- Mr. Mahmud Hadjimetov, Counselor, Trade and Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Malaysia
- Mr. Alisher Sakhibov, Head of Consular, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Mr. Rustam Rakhimov, 1st Secretary, Department of Ensuring, Communications, Computer Systems and Internet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Mr. Umarbek Matkarimov, Deputy Director, Information Computer Center (ICT), Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population
- Mr. Begzod Achilov, Head, Main Department of Management, Marketing and Forecasting of World Markets, Development of Sustainable Partnership Relations, Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade
- Mr. Otabek Karimov, Main Specialist, Administrative Office, Ministry of Economy
- Mr. Bobur Abdullaev, Main Specialist, Division of Information Resources and Development, State Committee for Communication, Information and Telecommunication Technologies
- Mr. Suhel Bidani, gTransformation Network - Associate Director | Advisory
- The Hon. Datuk Che Azemi Haron, Deputy Secretary General (Communications), Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia
- Mr. Mohammad Akbar bin Mahbat, Undersecretary, Communications and ICT Policy Division, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia
- Mr. William Lee Kwong Hwa, Director, International and Corporate Affairs Division, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions
- Dr. Ali R. Ebadi, Senior Vice President, Space Systems Development, MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd.
- Dr. Amirudin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer, CyberSecurity Malaysia
- Mr. Philllip Victor, Director, Centre for Policy and International Cooperation, International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threat (IMPACT)