Monday, September 12, 2016

Democracy Day: Developing countries use technology to empower their citizens

Developing countries are now beginning to realize the power of technology in helping them deliver services more efficiently and provide their citizens with the tools needed for them to get involved in government initiatives more – especially in elections.

Asia and Africa are blazing the trail in this trend.  In the past ten years, countries such as India, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe have rolled out innovations to improve the transparency, security, precision and reliability of their elections, positively impacting their democracies by committing to the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, the theme for Democracy Day 2016.

In India, the authorities have focused on a plan to improve their education system through e-government, guaranteeing better management and attention to the students in the country’s schools.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited startups and investors to join the efforts to develop automated voting machines that meet international security standards (such as printed voting vouchers), adding mechanisms that make voting easier and more accessible.

Governments in Africa have shown an approach focused on technology that modernizes electoral registries and makes voter authentication more effective.  Uganda successfully tried out a biometric system that was deployed at the polling centres, considerably reducing the possibilities of fraud.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is analyzing the implementation of biometrics for the 2018 elections, in order to improve the electoral system by making it more inclusive and reliable.

The free world needs to adapt to the rapid advancements in technology and learn to harness its great power if it is to solve the many challenges confronting democracies nowadays.