September 29, 2011 - 09:00 AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Good morning, everyone and apologies for the late start due to the fact that we couldn't be as mobile as we wanted to be today. We will try to catch up for the lost time. My name is Barbara Ubaldi and I work for the person responsible for e‑Government. And I would like to welcome our panelists who accepted to be here for our discussion on Mobile Government. I don't want to take much time from the discussion. I want to begin by saying how we came today to organizing this workshop, and the idea came from a recent publication that the OCD completed together with the UN DESA and ITU which is a publication on mobile technologies and responsive Governments and connected societies which is going to be available soon. And the three organizations together realizing the importance of increasing use of mobile technologies from Governments to differentiate the way they deliver services to businesses and citizens deciding to go through the experience in both developing and developed countries. Increasing examples of mobile applications being offered in developing countries that provide a rich set of knowledge to be shared with the developed countries as well, and it is not to gather a number of experiences but to try to skim through Mobile Government as an opportunity to provide new ways to make the service delivery more open, inclusive, efficient and effective and to spot the main challenges that Governments need to be aware of.
They need to ensure the right level of capacities within the public sector and in the society to capture the full value of Mobile Government which have to do with legal issues. To ensure the right level of protection and privacy and security. All challenges have been skimmed through in the report with the intention of providing some initial guidelines for Governments to raise the flag and say okay, embrace this opportunity but try to fully capture the value that it can bring you and without making it ‑‑ additional way to increase either the digital gaps that already exist or creating ways of digital divide.
I would like to leave the floor to the panelists who will briefly introduce themselves and share their experience in the implementation of Mobile Government. And I would like to invite to share with them their point of view as challenges and opportunities they see with Mobile Government. And I would remind all of us this is a feeder workshop to the main session on access and diversity. And they asked us to reflect on how our discussion contributes to the story line that supports the argument that the access to the Internet should be recognized as a human right. I would be happy to hear that from your perspective what the reflection on that aspect is. I would start giving the floor to my colleague and friend Slava who is from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and was a partner in the preparation of the report.
>> VYATCHESLAV CHERKASOV: Thank you. We used to work together at New York and now at the ‑‑ Barbara has a new position at the OECD and we are much happy that we just be able to jointly with ITU to come up and prepare this report which actually the recent publication on the issues related to M‑government and the connected society. I myself is a senior governance public officer of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and our division is working very closely on the issues of the WSIS, IGF and new developing challenges like e‑Government and now M‑government.
Saying maybe a few words about this publication we just thought about how we can address the issues of M‑government. Because as you remember maybe ten years ago the whole world was concerned about this divide gap between the developing countries and start looking for how, you know, this gap can be filled and any potential technologies can be implemented. And after about ten years you can see right now that the mobile technologies are so widespread and even in Kenya right now I was quite surprised that the cost of mobile communication is cheaper than probably anywhere.
So that I ask the local providers so that the cost of the one minute it is roughly around 2 or 3 shillings and we take in to consideration one dollar is roughly around 100 shillings. So that is a really affordable price for bringing back the mobile technologies driving force for the development.
On the other hand, so that when we prepared this publication so that I am just communicated with the number of the government officials, civil society, private sector and to research on the possible obstacles or the gaps ‑‑ I would say the obstacles why ‑‑ let's say M‑Government development can be slowed down or is not going to be given the full scale. And what I just found that very often in many countries the leadership argues that the skills and capacity of citizens are very limited. There is not an educated labor force in the public administration to manage M applications. Security can be at risk. The new systems are not viable under the existing legal and regulatory frameworks. And it cost them for the public administration to invest in the hardware, software and the human capital to make this innovation possible and so on.
On the other hand, I believe so that ‑‑ also this is the other side of the story. So that then other organization that are ‑‑ all this obstacle may be overcome. And various type of the approaches given that we right now may be on the first stage of the M revolution and is also expected that M‑Government is going to be more a vital instrument to empower citizens in all aspects of their life. Mobile technology will enable and be convenient for the citizens to access information, various types of services which citizens were previously not able to get. For example, living in remote areas where their connection, especially all this Internet connections through the previously adopted infrastructure system was not available.
On the other hand, so that the mobile technology provide very quick access to the information. And now we also know that it is really a driving force in many countries and we learned in the beginning of this Forum the example of Kenya. So that where this funding and the financial system to transferring monies through the mobile application is very useful and very efficient.
So finally what I would like to say that we very much appreciate that UN Secretariat, ITU and the USAG are working together and this publication is on the first step for the future development. And we also feel that the participants of this workshop will be engaged and invited for the future activities which include developing on the various type of the tools that include, I hope, that online training programs as well as the country and the international level workshop and the seminars. Thank you very much.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you, Slava. I would now like to leave the floor to my colleague, Verena.
>> VERENA WEBER: Thank you, Barbara. Good morning. My name is Verena Weber. I am working for the OECD, mainly in the area of Internet economy. What I would like to do in the next couple of minutes is to talk about the development of mobile infrastructure. So the supply side and then I would like to talk about the usage of mobile phones. So more the demand side and I would like to conclude with some open issues for M‑government.
So in one of yesterday's sessions Nokia pointed out that, in fact, 30% of the world population is online. But that 90% live in the range of a mobile network. So that means that theoretically 90% of the world's population could be connected. So what we see is that overall mobile connectivity is really growing at a fast pace.
So mobile has become a fantastic platform both in developed and developing countries. But for somehow it is slightly different reasons. So if you look at developed countries, mobile has become a supplement and sometimes even a substitute of fixed lines both in cities and remote areas. So we see that for OECD countries mobile broadband subscriptions has increased at a tremendous pace. We have countries such as Sweden or Japan where the wireless subscription rates are over 70 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Korea is leading the field. It has over 90%. Meaning that really dedicated mobile broadband subscriptions are a part of the overall data subscriptions. We kind of see the same trend in terms of 3G, data transmission on mobile phones. At least 19 countries, that is more than half of the OECD member countries had attained a coverage of over 90%. So that's quite impressive. So this is for developed countries.
For developing countries we see that mobile is often very often the most important access to the Internet, especially in rural areas. So we saw that in our marvelous host country Kenya. We now have over 25 million mobile subscriptions. So that's a number from December 2010. And it grew by 12% from September to December. So that's just incredible.
And we had a chance, in fact, to go to Maasai Mara before the conference and we were impressed because during the whole travel around the park and in the park we always had 3G connections. So in general to sum this up I mean the infrastructure is often in place to do almost everything in terms of M‑government services. So on the usage side, we see a tremendous growth after use of mobile apps. For instance, Android, so operating, their system Android, 6 billion installed apps in June of this year. That basically means it is about one app per person in the world, right? And Android has a market share of 39% and we are only talking about one operating system. People make use of apps in their daily life more and more and fully integrated. One example, for example, is a GPS service which has been quite helpful this morning. In fact, to see where we are again, well, this is more a tourist example from the Maasai Mara we had a marvelous sky with stars at night. So we could map the stars in their name. So that's pretty handy.
More and more people use these applications which provides a good ground for mobile applications. Overall we see although development issues, some open issues that has to be addressed for the moment, of course, not everyone has a Smartphone, although prices are declining. In Russia more or less 10% of the population have a Smartphone. So this is probably an issue to be addressed by public policy. The number needs to be increased. And then second people are getting used to mobile apps but that's mostly true for the younger generation, of course. So Governments should think about how to educate other groups of the population to join. And finally this is from our more technical perspective there is a question of how to get the service right. I mean what kind of services are you developing. Are you developing M‑government services for ordinary phones which means like SMS based services. Or are you developing services for work enabled phones, that means services that could do basic browsing in the Internet and not more or are you heading towards the development of services for Smartphones or all at the same time. That's a question that has to be addressed and I am sure we will have very interesting insights on the panel on those questions. Thank you, Barbara.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you. Is the remote participant you think able to join us now or should I leave the floor to one of the participants here? Maybe we can move on. Maybe, Katherine, we can start ‑‑ we could go on with you if you agree.
>> KATHERINE GETAO: He started I think. Is he talking?
>> BARBARA UBALDI: (Off microphone).
>> KATHERINE GETAO: Should I go ahead? Okay. Good morning, everyone. My name is Katherine Getao. I am the ICT secretary based in the directory of e‑Government which sits in the office of the President here in Kenya. And I am responsible for the use of ICT and Government and also the delivery of public service through ICTs.
My ‑‑ I have given a small title to my presentation. This morning I have called it engineering peculiarity. So for the last four and a half years a revolution in the use of technology in Kenya has caught the attention of the rest of the world. I am, of course, referring to the use of mobile phones to transfer money and carry out simple banking transactions.
About 80% of the 22 million adults in Kenya use these services which probably means in the statistics we have about 60% mobile phone penetration. But because each phone has one mobile bank account by ‑‑ per phone, that means at least 80% of the adults in Kenya must have mobiles.
In no other country in the world has this application of mobile phones been as successful as it has been in Kenya. It is however a peculiar combination of circumstances that has led to the rapid adoption of mobile money in Kenya. Among them the majority of our population do not have formal bank accounts. Indeed I would say they can't even get them if they want them because of the formal regulations required to open a bank account. And it is exactly the same thing with a landline, a landline. In order to get a landline you have to have a fixed premise and address, et cetera. So this kind of formality leaves out a large part of the population.
Another reason is that we have an urban population who are responsible for supporting a much poorer rural population. Think at the moment about 20% are urban and 80% are rural and people are in the habit of sending money home to their relatives at the end of each month to help them to survive. These two things combined meant that an urban worker was forced to make frequent and very dangerous bus trips home carrying money. Dangerous because, of course, the rate of road accidents in Kenya is quite high. So you might lose your life through a road accident. But maybe more pertinent and I think there was even a report last night about similar activity, thieves were very well prepared for the many travellers carrying cash home. So your chances of actually losing the money is quite high.
With this peculiar combination of circumstances it was almost inevitable that mobile money would succeed in Kenya. It allowed people to keep their money safely and to transfer it to distant relatives in an inexpensive and secure way. Therefore taking in to account the cost of the phone it provided a quick return on investment. Overshadowed poor user interface and lack of skills of users and the inconvenient methods of getting cash in and out of the system which is to a large extent manual. People queue up, hand over their cash which is then loaded on to their account. It seems a bit ridiculous. It is a combination of 19th and 21st century. All these conveniences pale in convenience compared to the important success I have discussed. Following the success of the application follow the assumption that if mobile money works, now mobile apps. This is far from true. Yes. So really even though we have quite a number of mobile applications that we have developed for M‑Governments, there is not a single one that I can point to that enjoys anywhere near the success of the mobile money killer application.
This rather long introduction leads me in to the directives of the M‑government. We have ‑‑ the most successful M application we have at the moment is the Kenya national examinations council exam check where you enter the index number of the candidate and it returns the results. But even that one doesn't have anywhere near the success that the mobile money application has.
This is why we recently worked together with the IBM social core to design a service framework and a tool to help us to deliver much more successful M applications and to move us from good ideas to successful applications.
The resulting service framework has four phases. Firstly it prescribes a demand and supply analysis of the services Stakeholders in terms of consumers who use the service, the providers who provide the services and the influences such as Government who want a particular service to exist and be used. And it does this in terms of their needs, expectations and preferences and I tried to talk a little bit about that in terms of mobile money. Secondly and this step should be very popular with IGF members, it encourages the creation of a governance mechanism to coordinate the activities of different Stakeholders and inform decisions towards the achievement of collective goals. This is a very important step because we are conscious that an M divides and I think that Verena said something about that at the end of her questions can develop between the 20% who use Smartphones and the ordinary phone user. The third step involves the creation of a disciplined enterprise architecture which includes the design of functions process and information. The technical architecture in terms of platform, application, data issues, security issues and the technical infrastructure needed to implement the selected system.
And then I say although this framework is device independent because what we discussed is mobile phones are almost ubiquitous today but next year who knows which device is going to become popular. It has taken only ten years for mobile phones to become ubiquitous. And only a couple of years for mobile money. We wanted to make a generic framework that would be appropriate for any technology or device that comes up. We are conscious in our current states the majority use simple phones.
And this requires us to be a little bit more thoughtful because we don't want to say that just because you have a simple phone which can only use SMS based applications, that those applications should be trivial. So what we are trying to build around this is a robust technical and data infrastructure which supplements the limited capacity of the phones. So you enter one word, but that takes you to a huge back office system which can create a very powerful application. And also we want the citizens to keep a lot of their data online so that data is known once you connect.
Finally, taking in to account that any successful service must also be sustainable and the service framework requires the specification of a business delivery and operating model. And to support this model a simple spreadsheet based questionnaire was developed. And the directory of e‑Government is preparing to use the framework and the tool to engineer the development of more effective and sustainable and peculiar in the positive sense, of course, M services. Thank you for your attention.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you, Katherine. Maybe we can turn now the floor to our participants who are here. Claudio, can you hear us?
>> CLAUDIO GIUGLIEMMA: Can you hear me?
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Yes, we can hear you perfectly. I don't know if you heard the first moments of the workshop but what I said I would like each participant to introduce themselves saying who he is and what he is doing. And so I leave you the floor.
>> CLAUDIO GIUGLIEMMA: Thank you so much and I apologize for my intervention before. Sometimes the audio is not really perfect. But it works now. So my name is Claudio Giugliemma. I am President of the Swiss Foundation called W Foundation and we are focused on the programs around the world in collaboration with UN agencies like ITU and ICT and also in collaboration with the industry there, the e‑industry. I would like to briefly underline the very important aspect of M‑government. It is true that to have success e‑government implementation (inaudible) has to be reached. Has been said correctly before in certain countries the mobile phones are on a pragmatic start to deliver services from a specific Government.
But from our experience we are already running several inclusion programs around the world and in particular the most important services are e‑Government services. We take care in particular to make sure that all the services content and information are delivered to all the citizens within a country. And therefore maybe a suggested approach is to have a multiple Stakeholder corporation in each country and probably the best way but given the (Off microphone). And it is in conjunction with visual inclusion program which we believe through experience that has to support the success of the deployment of e‑Government infrastructure.
Recalling the UN Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities which has been recognized by over 140 countries in addition to the UN millennium which is due in 2015 the right approach to the citizen is important. We have the technology aspect and we have the user aspect that has to be considered. So probably the most essential topics that has to be considered in an M‑government is ‑‑ we need to have the right policy in place in each Government. We have to select the right technology to guarantee the future and also the technology has very important economical aspect. This is the ability of the technology that's really important as well.
We need to have a broadband program because for Internet access e‑Government is most important to consider this aspect because mobile technology and mobile broadband is already available in most countries due to the various information number, like 90% of the world population is already available for a mobile technology.
What we suggest is that to have a PP environment. Public/private program like in Kenya that was mentioned before. There is the industry involved. The Government involved and also NGOs that represent citizens as well. The organization is also an extremely important aspect for Mobile Government as well. Because we have to consider the needs of each individual citizen. So not only providing local content in the same language but also respect use for the type of possible user living in rural areas or in urban areas, their disabilities and age and so on. And what we have seen it work is this type of program should include also socialability model and (inaudible) model. Because now technology can guarantee for the future. Regarding briefly the technology aspect, Mobile Government includes a lot of different aspects but more important type of solutions. We have ran already, we are part of several projects which include e‑Government services around the world and what we to identify as one of probably the best solution available is using cloud computing for content apps, data services which are able to serve, deliver the services through any device in the personal computer, tablet, also mobile, Smartphone and also be a cell phone through SMS services. On the other hand, intraoperability, compatibility and the use of standards are also critical points that have to be considered.
The most important thing that because we are living now in a very, very important period of time where shift of technology now to our web based technology clouds technology. And it is a great opportunity now to include accessibility and usability without having to solve the problem of people with disabilities or people with a mission on solutions.
So why accessibility is so important? There are two aspects of that. Based on 2011 (inaudible) information people with disabilities around the world is over 1 billion people. Impressive number. It is 15% of the world population. United States people over 65, 62% of them are living with a disability. There is ‑‑ they need to be considered also in the M‑government.
When we talk about disability we talk about citizens with visual impairment, hearing impairment, speech, dexterity and reading and more important mobility impairment. In addition to people suffering any sort of disability we also have elderly people that are not (Off microphone). People living in rural areas and remote areas that don't access technology for several reasons. Low income people. All this big quotient of population has to be served by the technology and the success is going to be adopting also in conjunction with the program this inclusion program which is localized country by country. So I want to present a couple of situation programs we are running at the moment and share with you some consideration.
So we are selecting a specific visual inclusion program which are related to e‑Government and also Mobile Government, are one in Italy and one in (inaudible). In terms of, for example, in collaboration partnership with ITU and the Government of Padua, particularly signed communication and technology and education, we are implementing e‑education solution based on cloud computing where every school, every teacher and every student have direct access to all content in a curricula and so on, centralize everything. And this is done in Swahili and English in primary and secondary schools. The cloud environment which we called the Lucy project allows any student, teacher even with a disability to access the services of education and the content any time anywhere. Because the server that we are going to implement will be able to serve, will be able to serve the end user, teacher or student through any technology. Can be a personal computer, Windows based, tablet on Windows operating system, Android and IOS. Smartphone both Windows based, Android or IOS as well and cell phone through SMS. Of course, we have to limit the availability of services and content according to the limitation of the device the user is using. But that's the beauty of this kind of approach because the content adjusts itself according to the types of device that the user is using. We have built in assistive tools inside the application, inside the cloud where the user, a student, for example, is blind or low vision or mobility impaired can configure his device according to his specific need and automatically the server is ‑‑ the content is delivered in a format that is accessible by the specific user. So it is user by user. Student by student.
And this is a very, very important project. It is the first of its kind and it could be finished by June of 2012. On the other hand, let me share with you some information regarding the Titan project. You can see my name is on the pilot method from Switzerland and also my accent is Italian as well. We have a large visually included program with the Government of Italy. National, state, province and (inaudible) where we are building a cloud infrastructure where specifically e‑Government services are delivered to a selected target which in Italy and Europe are people with disabilities. So the target of this specific initiative is this one and we have focused the first step to deliver services and content to the citizens. And we want to make sure that all the citizens from anywhere in the country living in the mountain area, in their jobs in seaside or in rural areas can access localized information coming from different entities, institution of the Government and this is something that first time also in Europe that we are launching an initiative in this sense and we have adopted all the periodic methods mentioned before. It is Italian industry involved. We have a major player involved, Microsoft and so on. We have UN institution involved to follow up on various committees and we involve to provide access to all mobile e‑Government services to all citizens. And this, for example, shows that the same technology can be deployed, localized in each country around the world. So for the moment I would be available for any questions. Thank you.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you, Claudio. I now leave the floor to Tracy and I would like to invite the panelists to stick to the five minutes so we can leave time for questions if any at the end. Thank you.
>> TRACY HACKSHAW: My name is Tracy Hackshaw. I am from Trinidad and Tobago and the panelists have addressed the fundamental issues that we face in Trinidad and Tobago. Our Internet access is very low. Last figures we have are it is under 50% at the household level. And about 13% start meeting last two or three years. However mobile penetration is 130%. Average between 134 to 141% over the last two years. It is very high. I think last ranking was fourth in the world for mobile penetration. Recent figures mobile Internet access of the mobile penetration is 26% but it doesn't imply active Internet usage. Over the last five years we have seen interestingly our BlackBerry penetration be quite high. But again the growth is of the prepaid end of the market. And it does not imply usage of the Internet itself. So this ‑‑ these figures pose problems for the Government in terms of e‑services. We are seeing Internet penetration growing but not at levels you want to see. You see mobile penetration growing very high but not mobile Internet. You are seeing smart phones appearing but not usage. So what do you do to deliver services to the people? You want to reach everyone as panelists have said but you know they are not using the services as a way you would like to use them. Five years ago when we planned our e‑Government project we decided to develop a multi‑channel service delivery project and we call it TT connect. Which involve anything from counter services, face to face, to the Internet, to mobile, to working on contact centers and so on. So we are trying to grab all of the potential touch points that sort of our citizens face.
In our research we found that mobile penetration is really most actively used at the younger end of the population, meaning the most usage is done at let's say the 15 to 34 age level, initially SMS and very recent those about BBM messaging. Kind of links what the panelists have been saying so far. We have not seen very high takeup on the Internet as I previously said. So we have not been able to focus primarily on delivering services via through the Internet. We have tried to deliver services via SMS through querying of Government services via the SMS platform and what we call a mix model delivery. What we are going to be launching very soon is environments where you can query a service, a status of a service, applied for let's say ‑‑ I forget, online. What I do via the Internet or counter service or some other method. I can access the status of my application online if I had access to it. However given the lack of takeup of that we also want to allow access via the phone. Pick up and get automated response. You receive SMS as your status and you can query your status via SMS and you can go online via mobile phone and do the same query in terms of trying and tackle all the groups at the same time. As the other panelists have said it is interesting maybe less literate Internet users will not be using mobile Internet. It is important for us to recognize that Smartphones and Android and iPhone type applications are not yet something we are looking at in the Caribbean region, especially in Trinidad in terms of Mobile Government. We have some seen some development of Android applications, in particular Android services are indeed growing in the region. But we are not yet going to be seeing people using the Android environment to query to services delivered and so on.
Our next thought process is to look at the IM type level. You have seen SMS. We are trying to look to see if there is any possibility of utilizing the BBM type environments to deliver services through that touch point. There is very, very heavy usage via a large portion of the market on BBM. For those of you who don't know what that is it is BlackBerry messenger. It is a free IM service you get via your phone and possibilities to develop on that platform is the same type of SMS services which costs you money. If you have more cost, people in the region, an SMS costs U.S. five to ten cents per message. Whereas BBM message is prepaid. It is very lucrative in terms of delivering services on that platform. That's where we are in Trinidad and Tobago. We are going to look at the mobile Internet next. The SMS environment is where we think the most effective delivery of services can be delivered at this point in time. We want to mix all services so we can catch everyone at all times. Thank you.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you. Would you all like to ‑‑ I would like to turn the floor now to Chat.
>> CHAT GARCIA RAMILO: Good morning. My name is Chat Garcia. One of the areas that we have been working around is to look at the areas of how gender makes a difference in terms of services in relation to e‑Government services. I will pick from that perspective and maybe get a few examples so that just to look at what ought to be the considerations to make services more effective and also accessible equal to both women and men. And I would like to start with just a few things. After the question that was asked of me is to ‑‑ this question how can mobile phones help produce Internet access buyers for women in developing countries and I think there are several things. Let me just point to five things. I think No. 1 is affordability and that was mentioned earlier, but the important thing here is the recognition that in many places in developing countries women still earn less than men and have less access to income. So in that sense I think the mobile affordability makes a lot of sense for women.
The second thing is about mobility. One of the main problems of women have always been the restrictions to their movement. And the ‑‑ I think the reasons for this could be many. One could be in relation to where they live. The other could be in relation to just social norms. Women, there are much more restrictions for women in terms of where they can go and what kind of places they can even in terms of work. So I think to some extent mobile phones because they are small, because they are easier to handle, because they can be hidden could be something that could be much more useful for women. I think the other thing is to understand what kinds of work women do. And there have been many different examples of phones being very useful for women because in their livelihoods, I think the best example or the one example that have been always used, the phone example in Bangladesh that has created livelihood opportunities for women. They use the phones and sell services and earn income. That's another positive example for women.
But I think one thing that Katherine was mentioning earlier with the peculiarity in Kenya is also similar to a peculiarity perhaps for women which is about limitations in ownership. There are also because women may not necessarily be registered. So it is also more difficult for them to let's say own or land lines. So in some countries where you don't have any requirements for mobile phones, like you can just buy a SIM card or a phone in a market or in the shop. We don't have to register anything. You are not required any let's say electricity bill or your identity card. You can actually buy mobile phones. So I think in that sense it also is quite useful and makes ‑‑ does away with some of the buyers that women face. To really identify the situations of women and what they can and cannot do and I think that's very different depending on where they live. So those ‑‑ that's just looking at that as something to consider. And then I just want to give you an example just to make this more real for us. And that is an example in the Philippines where I live. It connects to Government services. The Philippines has 80 million SIMs in use in a population of 92 million. As Tracy was saying doesn't mean that 80 million people have phones. But I think one of the most popular notions in the Philippines it is the text capital of the world. There is really a lot of use of phones but it is really much more text based. Data around Internet users is 24 million. So that's about 30% of the population and about 10 million, 10% of mobile phone subscribers use mobile Internet. So that's where we are at.
The example I want to give is about the use of SOS ‑‑ sorry, of SMS for Philippine workers. It is a highly mi grant. We have about 10 million overseas workers. And that's 10 million supporting the population. Katherine was saying earlier urban Kenyans support rural families. In Philippines over 10 million support a lot of families in the Philippines. It is a very significant part of income and significant part of also foreign exchange in the country. About half of the overseas Philippine workers are women and they work all over the world. This example is called the SOS SMS. It is a help line. It was started by a civil society organization. It is a 24/7 text based ICT, well, phone help line. And what it does really is that it is ‑‑ they have a number, two numbers that they send information to Filipino workers going to Saudi Arabia. You can call the number if you have a problem, especially if there is a crisis situation. So in the last five years what they have ‑‑ what's happened is that they receive a lot of reports. And only can do 140 characters with a text message. What happens is the reports are, for example, women, domestic helpers who are raped, who are sexually harassed, sexually abused. They are able to send a call for help. That's why it is called the SOS SMS. It gets them to the center. The center has a database which is connected to a server. What is important is that they are a conduit to the Government. They have contacts with all embassies and they know people in the embassy. And then they connect with the Department of Foreign Affairs and that then mobilizes. It sort of starts mobilization of service and help for the migrant worker. And I wanted to give that example because I think it really demonstrates, it demonstrates how it can be simple. But at the same time I think one of the things that they have faced at the beginning the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines was reticent in cooperating because of ‑‑ and what they have found is that it does ‑‑ it is very important that Government is prepared and does have the capacity to provide a service. I don't think it is ‑‑ yes, the technical backing is important but I think critical is also the preparedness. Government in providing the public service. Because if you do not have that Government will not necessarily adopt a mobile, you know, a mobile service. In the Philippines mobile as I said, as I am saying it it is really quite prevalent, but I think one of the real buyers is that the ability for Government to provide a service itself.
But I do think that it does provide this connection and also the accountabilities. I think that's also one of the things that the center has found is that it has increased accountability of Government to then provide that kind of service. And what they have done is that they now are able to also use that data because they keep it on a database and they actually have a yearly ‑‑ an annual report and they bring that to the Government and say look, you know, this is the kinds of problems that Filipinos overseas workers face in Saudi Arabia and other places and they are managing to talk to Government and say these are the kinds ‑‑ this is the need and this is the services that the Government can provide. So I leave it at that.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you. We now would like to turn the floor to Dona.
>> DONA SCOLA: Thank you. Good morning. My name is Dona Scola. I am a deputy minister of ICT. In two years we were looking to the solution of how to leap frog from the very traditional way of doing things and the traditional way of delivering services and organizing Government inside to the best use of the modern trends and technologies. And one of our conclusions is that we should rely on extensive usage of mobile because as in the rest of the world mobile penetration is much high in Moldova. It was close to 90% and it is growing faster, of course. There are some issues connected to that which were discussing continuously and didn't find yet final balance between different solutions. And I would like to structure our challenges in the ‑‑ in two ways or to cover them from two sides. Traditional offer side and demand side. And when we talk about the offer part of the story, we are concerned about infrastructure. And infrastructure in respect of mobile services is a much broader concept than just physical infrastructure of the networking.
Yes, of course, there is a need to develop the infrastructure in such a way that it will be the service and the qualitative service will be accessible in the same level for all generations, for all citizens in all parts of the country. Now it tends to concentrate in the big cities and our goal is to help it to go to the rural areas. And to cover on the same level the whole country. And in this respect the solutions we are looking to is, of course, the dynamicization of the spectrum given to the market and the efficient management of this spectrum. But also subjects like common shared infrastructure which is open ‑‑ the open model of infrastructure which is facilitating ‑‑ create facilitative conditions to all creators to use the investment and will decrease the need of the new investment will open up the market for new entrance. The competition will be much more vibrant and we will be moving in to the services area from their ‑‑ from the classical infrastructure area which is an outcome which we target to achieve in this respect.
Also as an infrastructure we see some horizontal services needed to be built to facilitate the service delivery after that. And just to give you an example, we can consider that deployment of mobile services is depending on some platforms which can facilitate their appearance of new services, faster deployment and even adoption of the services. And as such platforms I would mention the mobile identification which is, of course, the trigger for high level services and mobile payment systems. So they both together can be open for different service providers, can really facilitate and become enablers of their mobile service delivery.
Currently in Moldova we are only using services, information mobile services on an informational level. They are usually in the form of notification of the specific information targeted to specific people's needs. For example, in health care there are situations when people should be alerted about some specific doses of medicines which should be taken at very set time. This kind of services really helps them to be much more organized and much more careful about their health.
And these kind of platforms we are also looking to take them out of service and to put in to their common platform area, like notification separate from the services itself. So it can be taken as a block and inserted in to any service structure. And also will help other service, service providers to first to be more efficient in their product delivery and the time to market will be shortened. The most important part here from the Government I think is to create a model which is well balancing Government intervention with the private sector participation. So it is dangerous when Government took it, all design it all and control it all in terms of maintenance and other things.
But it is also ‑‑ but also because of some security reasons, because of their privacy and their storage of some personal data it is also an issue and we are not ready as a society to accept the idea that all this information will be run on completely private platforms. So this is the complex set of sorts. And then ideas we are regarding infrastructure and what ‑‑ and on the demand side when we talk about adoption of the services I have to mention that in Moldova sophistication is not great. Only 30% use SMS. The specific behavior of our customers they perceive the telephone as a voice carrier first of all, and then they learn, of course, but the learning curve is still a long way. So here we are decisive to help by providing their very useful services which we are going probably to identify based on their needs, some tools, some asking them what would you need really to start using at least exchange of simple SMS text. Others ‑‑ other issue is related to the usage of devices. Of course, most of the devices are simple forms and the combination of the access to the sophisticated devices which is already related to their power of ‑‑ purchasing power of the citizens which is another very big economical issue. And, of course, all these parts of the same goal, how to develop demand for services and how to ‑‑ how to help people to migrate from their simple voice to more sophisticated behavior, how to make people to accept services. Of course, there is an element of trust here. Trust to government as a full trust to exchange your personal data, trust to access your bank account through not very clear, pure, understandable technology. So these are issues we are working together now with all the partners inside of the country. Although we are quite developed in the concept of mobile I.D. and electronic payments and all the technical understanding inside of the team we achieved already, the decision is about to be taken. Of course, we have to run all our legal changes and to ensure that at the point when the technology is ready the legal framework and all their processes are ready to adopt it. This is the complex.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you very much. And if the panelists agree I would like to ask the audience any question to be asked now. Let's see how many questions we have and we can maybe gather a few and have the panelists reply.
>> My name is Moshir Yaga (phonetic). When it comes to M‑government one of the things that we begin to see is kind of like a can of worms. Once a Government deploys a single service or not even Government, even just a large service provider, in the case of Kenya, you know, I am thinking Ampasa, the moment that can is opened the citizens begin to expect better services and they begin to expect that kind of mobile service to penetrate in to other areas of their life. For Government I have begun to see for mobile, mobile utility payments in part, mobile money and now begun hearing people asking when are we going to start paying taxes via mobile phones. I am going to have to go in and bank some fees that Government needs me to pay for a license. Can I do that from my mobile phone. So that slowly begins to creep in to Government departments where they probably hadn't put down an explicit strategy to migrating in to M‑government. I think that calls for very explicit time bound strategic roadmaps, built collaboratively, of course, at Government. That makes sure, that every player within the Government, every department within the Government knows where the entire administration is going and therefore what needs to be done and by what time.
So all these things are factored in to budgets and get implemented on time. Being informed by the overall Government agenda, some of these explicit roadmaps need to be informed by the pain points that the citizens are experiencing. So you have a user centered approach to solving this problem and that eventually improves adoption and that's why I think like Getao mentioned the successful Ampasa was driven from the pain that people were feeling and also in the Philippines the, it is coming in from overseas, Filipino workers back home. That's a big driver for mobile money transfer. They need to keep citizens at the center of the conversation and also keeping everyone on the same page. I think it is a good idea.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you. Let's see if there is ‑‑ there are other questions.
>> Thank you for these good presentations. My name is Tiva and I come from the Republic of Congo. I would start to say in Congo we have more than 80% of people using the mobile phones. We have also some services like mobile services provided by Government and the private companies to citizens on business prevention, support to patients and also information for students to get their results of state exams. Adoption of these services are more in the cities and in rural areas, very few users and we know that many women live in villages. And the services is also not totally ‑‑ not totally free. If you use ‑‑ it is provided by one operator. If you use another operator then you pay for the service. You have to use the same operator. My question is that what can be done in terms of how could we include ‑‑ increase the use of these mobile services by women and what are the strategies. I would like also to know in the services or the projects the speakers I have talked about is there any mechanism for women in terms of do women participate in the design of these projects. Thank you.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you. We will take one more and then we can reply if there is any other questions. So if there isn't just I would like to combine the two comments that have been made and besides the specific question we got. I think the participants are raising the point of adopting a strategy and making sure that the strategy is user centered so that we bring in the users being them different groups of society including women. And during the various presentations we again like in several occasions in the previous days heard the importance of adopting a multi‑Stakeholder approach.
So my question to all of you is to include the two comments as well in your view what is the best way to go about adopting a Multi‑Stakeholder approach that brings in the voices and needs of all segments population to make sure what we offer in terms of M‑government is responsive to needs and designed to bring in specific requests.
>> VYATCHESLAV CHERKASOV: Maybe I will respond to this. I would like to echo Chat's first comments about the Government itself being ready to offer services. I think that would be a key Stakeholder in the first place. What we have found in small and developing states even though the mobile technologies are there and ready to come the Government itself is not ready. And Governments have not been consulting with the population and they have not ‑‑ the technology on the back is not ready. The workers in the back end receive information from the public or deliver information to the public via mobile or at e‑Government levels. First before we reach M‑government, Government needs to be ready to deliver services through the multiple channels that exist today. To do that it is very important to have a social or collaborative approach as some of the participants are suggesting. Through Focus Groups, through in Trinidad and Tobago we do polling on a regular basis of the population. Every quarter we pool the population asking what is required and what do you need. We have not begun to design services with the population together. We tend to design services and use Focus Groups to test but I do hear and I do agree that bringing the population and even before it is there it is very important. I think that could be then through town hall type settings so you can reach everyone. We can even use the technology to do it as well. Even with through mobile phones and to bring women I think is very important. Most of these services are consumed primarily by women in terms of getting things for their children or family. When you look at the lines in the various ministry agencies the lines are predominately women. So it is very important to bring women in and I would leave it to the rest of the panel to determine how best we can do that.
>> Thank you. My name is Lois Bacill (phonetic), assistant director of ICT in communications in Kenya. I'd like to talk about the initiatives that the minister of information has made towards utilization of ICT with the citizens, I mean with the citizens and especially the ‑‑ for those who are seeking Government services. The ministry has deployed an ICT infrastructure. It has firstly taken the deployment of a submarine cable. It has facilitated the deployment of the terrestrial fiber optic cable and after deployment of the same we have even a growth in the ICT services and access and it has some motivation to the ICT sector whereby you find software developers and I encouraged there because there is enough bandwidth. There is broadband and able to develop their systems and even the researchers we have the e‑learnings also. I mean it has brought a lot of benefits to the ICT growth. The ministry is also trying to set up a data center. We also have the data center projects. They have been initiated in different ministries, especially where the registries are, like the judiciary ministry. If the judiciary ministry, they are setting up telecoms, especially in the high courts. At the moment there is a facility between the high courts of Mombassa and Nairobi where the judges don't have to travel. They can do their cases using the teleconference facilities.
So that is the contribution of the ministry. And key Government institution towards the combination of ICT.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Thank you. Very nice. Are there any questions remotely? So I just ‑‑ sorry if it is a question, if it is a contribution, I think we are running out of time. But if it is a question we would welcome the last question.
>> Sorry. Thank you for the opportunity. My name is Abby. I am going to ask any of the members on the panel if their toolkits that have been developed that can help Governments actually prepare and articulate their requirements for e‑Government and M‑government and share that with the Stakeholders and use that as a platform for creating a viable solution. Thank you.
>> KATHERINE GETAO: Thank you very much. Katherine Getao. In response to that, yes, that is the tool and the framework that I was referring to which can be used for M‑ Governments as well as e‑Government because as I said it is a device independent framework. However we have just developed it. We haven't actually applied it. But given a Forum we can share it for discussion.
I just wanted to add something to the earlier two questions if I could very briefly. Asked about the frustration of citizens because, you know, often these applications are created much faster than Government can move. And then we are caught a little bit flat footed. One of the issues is that, for example, Ampasa operated for a long time in a policy free environment. It was interesting to hear that policy precedes application and in Kenya it is the other way around. It is not that Government is ignorant. We can't act without policy and policy takes a long time to create. However we are looking at different ways of doing these things in light of the impatience of the citizens who can no longer tolerate having to use 19th century methodologies when they are already using 21st century technology to transact. We are running to catch up with the citizen.
Slava's comment about women, here in Kenya we have a constitutional requirement that 30% of people participating in have to be of one or the other gender. In the directorate of e‑Government we are very conscious. So we have actually a large number of women actually working in the area of e‑Government and the development of e‑government services and we hope they bring in those concerns of women even in to the development of their applications.
But also in the second step of our framework which I am promoting there is a policy and governance mechanism which is supposed to ensure that the contribution of all Stakeholders whether it is the disabled as referred to by an earlier speaker or women or any other interest group. So that should really take care of making sure that as the application is developed it takes in to account the needs of those different Stakeholder groups. Thank you very much.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Any other intervention from the panelists? Any response?
>> Just two things. I think one thing around this strategy is maybe the motivation ‑‑ I think that sometimes the motivation is more driven by private sector and Government and I think that outstrips sometimes now the participation from say citizens or civil society. So perhaps a rebalancing of that would be useful when designing M‑government. I think the other thing, too, is that perhaps it is not always the big M‑government application. Because in some cases perhaps a smaller more concentrated in areas of need would be useful and then to grow that because I think that might then ‑‑ you might have lessons. Then you scale it up. And the third thing in relation to tools I would just share that in APC what we have developed is a gender evaluation methodology which is looking at gender aspects of planning projects which can include services and we have done that with several projects already. And we have examples in our Website. Thanks.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: Sorry.
>> CLAUDIO GIUGLIEMMA: This is Claudio. Just to add something regarding the question regarding the women. Women are full citizens and therefore they have to be served by the e‑Government services. And this is why before I mentioned the site the inclusion project initiative has to be in place at the same time or even before implementation of e‑Government solution. Program also include women which probably are the most in need in our countries. And always find a way to include women in this process. Thank you.
>> I would just like to conclude by responding to the question concerning toolkits. When it comes to Mobile Government the report we are about to ‑‑ which is about to be published has a set of guidelines at the end which are not aimed to be like structured and fixed suggestions, but I mean guidelines but they are suggestions for Governments to be taken in to consideration when going ahead and planning the implementation of Mobile Government. And so this is the response from the international organization's perspective together with the fact that we are thinking on how to transform the content of the report in to a toolkit available to all Governments around the world to be able to guide them and help them in the implementation of Mobile Government. When it comes to e‑Government UN DESA has been working for quite a few years in the development and upgrade of a tool, online toolkit which is called Meter which actually helps Governments to strengthen the policy making process to come up with strategies and plans that respond to specific needs when it comes to e‑Government. There are some flyers here with our content information and we can be in touch on the Mobile Government part or e‑Government part or more specifically my colleague from the UN will be able to help you out with that.
>> BARBARA UBALDI: So if there is no more interventions I would like to thank all of you especially for the patience you had at the beginning and having waited for us and accepted the late start of the workshop. Thank you very much.