Launched in 2019, the digitisation of Ukraine programme aims to transform the nation’s economy into a seamless and interoperable framework by 2024 through its Diia platform. Anastasia Bondar, Deputy Minister for Digital Development at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, explains Ukraine’s journey of digital transformation in a recent interview with Dinis Guarda.
Anchored in a history marked by resilience and adaptability, Ukrainian culture has fostered a spirit of innovation and coexistence. The cultural tapestry, woven with influences from over 125 nationalities, as highlighted by Anastasia during the interview with Dinis, has instilled a sense of tolerance and unity among the people.
This cultural foundation, she says, has been instrumental in shaping a collaborative and forward-thinking mindset, crucial for embracing the digital transformation of its economy. By 2022, Ukraine became the first country where digital smartphone passports are full legal analogs of traditional documents. The Diia application, a core product, is now utilised by almost 18.3 million Ukrainians, representing half the country's population.
“The main idea behind the digitalisation of Ukraine is to create the most convenient country in the world, to provide easy, fast, clear, and transparent communication between the government and the citizens of the country, wherever they are”, says Anastasia.
Anastasia also explains the achievements of the Ukrainian government following the digitalisation initiative, including the launch of the world's fastest business registration, digital driver's licenses, and numerous other innovative services.
The digital transformation of Ukraine
In 2019, the Ministry of Digital Transformation was established, led by Mykhailo Fedorov, with the ambitious goal of implementing the "state in smartphone" project, as announced by President Zelenskyy. The vision of creating the most convenient digital state in the world, free from bureaucracy and paper, became the driving force behind the establishment of strategic goals for the digital state by 2024. These goals included ensuring that all government services are available online, fostering digital skills development for six million Ukrainians, increasing the IT sector's contribution to the GDP to 10%, and providing high-speed internet coverage to 95% of transport infrastructure and settlements.
To execute such an extensive digital transformation, a new organizational structure was created, introducing the role of Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDTO) at both national and regional levels. The Minister of Digital Transformation, who also serves as Vice Prime Minister, oversees and coordinates the comprehensive digitalisation processes in the country.
“When we digitalise each and every service in the country, we make them interoperable, thus making it easy and accessible for everyone, and from every corner of the world”, Anastasia explains. She highlights that digitalising is a means to reach out to not just the ones living in Ukraine but also to over 8 million citizens who have relocated to different countries, following the Russian invasion.
The digital transformation of Ukraine is the nation’s chance to become a leader
During the interview, Anastasia told Dinis that under the umbrella of the digital state brand Diia, a range of national digital projects was launched, including the widely-used Diia mobile application, the state portal of public services, the Diia.
Digital Education project for digital literacy, Diia.Business for SME and export development, and the unique legal and tax space for IT companies called Diia.City.
The Diia.Digital Education platform has successfully educated 1.5 million Ukrainians in basic digital skills, following European standards for digital competencies. Additionally, the entrepreneur support ecosystem has been elevated through the Diia.Business portal, providing free consultations, training, and support for entrepreneurs.
Even amid the challenges of war, the Diia.City framework for IT companies has attracted over 380 companies, demonstrating the resilience and continued growth of Ukraine's digitalization efforts.
“We are living through this war, and at the same time learning how to live it. This is also our chance and possibility to show that we are a nation of innovations, and ready to lead and guide the world and any type of economy”, she said.