Somalia is focusing on rebuilding after years of armed conflicts. It looks forward to engage other developing nations for technical assistance. The ministries and directorates of the Somalian government were convinced that public service innovation was the way to go when their representatives participated in the Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo on 27 November 2017 in Antalya, Turkey and the 1st international event of the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) on 9-11 December 2017 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The representatives from the Ministry of Planning, Investment & Economic Development and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management from the Federal Republic of Somalia saw the benefits of replicating some of the Bangladesh government’s a2i Programme’s initiatives in their own country.
Fast forward seven months, a team from the a2i Programme was invited on a mission to the Federation of Somalia to discuss applications of ICT to bring about public service innovation. The ‘Innovate for Somalia’ project of UNDP Somalia hosted a series of workshops from 13-28 July 2018 where government officials from multiple ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office, with facilitation from the a2i’s officials, analyzed public services offered by the Somalian government and explored opportunities for digital innovations.
The reviews aimed to identify quick-win innovations that could be tested quickly. Initiatives were identified on connecting government offices over a single platform; applying for passport online; tracking postal delivery in real time; registering business enterprises and NGOs online with e-payment facilities; bridging skills development with job opportunities; providing validated information service on religious, social and ethical affairs; making healthcare solutions available for all; developing a national database on important statistics; and registering vehicle, property, national identification and birth certificates online.
The a2i thus engaged the Somalian Government under the umbrella of the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI), meaning that solutions did not have to come from Bangladesh only but had to be based on the experiences of other countries too. Government officials from ministries (including Commerce & Industry; Posts, Telecommunications & Technology; Youth & Sports; Labor & Social Affairs; Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation; Planning, Investment and Economic Development; Health; and Finance) and the private sector representatives (from Mogadishu Innovation Hub, Hormuud Telecommunication, and TayoSoft) participated in productive dialogue with innovation experts from Bangladesh.
The SSN4PSI was launched at the Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo on 27 November 2017 in Antalya, Turkey. Since then, it has been actively facilitating government-government, UNDP-UNDP and even government-private sector partnerships.