Tonga Digital Government Support Project
Tonga Digital Government Support Project (TDGSP) Overview
The Tonga Digital Government Support Project (TDGSP) is a support program administered by the World Bank. TDGSP’s efforts focus on building an enabling environment with a view on continuous improvements for the Government of Tonga and related agencies. It was identified that the legal and regulatory framework as well as the Cyber Security framework needed to be in place to set the ‘enabling environment’ for other necessary frameworks to come into place. The Digital Government Strategic Plan 2018-2023 was established and approved in 2018 to serve as a framework for how the implementation of E-Government in Tonga will be established.
As described by the World Bank, “The Project is focused primarily on building foundations rather than comprehensive service delivery” (TDGSP Project Appraisal Document, p14). In other words, this project will focus on the development of various frameworks and implementation plans to pave the way for the building of service delivery systems. According to a global review of digital government development, described in the World Development Report Digital Dividends 2016 which emphasized the need to balance investments in technology (digital) with appropriate policy measures (analog complements). This project is designed to place upfront emphasis on strategy and implementation roadmap development, and development of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for electronic transactions prior to investment in potentially costly digital infrastructure. This project is designed under a “whole of Government” approach so the proactive engagement of key ministries and agencies is key to building the consensus around shared services.
The early phase of the project focuses on primarily building foundations for e-government, similar to establishing a foundation for a building. Before the physical building is built, the agreed-upon processes and legal governance for the establishment of the building must be in place first. As we shift into the physical building phase (or implementation), the digital infrastructure (data center, secure government network, and other resources) will need to be prepared and ready for the incoming establishment of e-services. These e-services are the public-facing website portal accessible to the citizens of Tonga as well as businesses to interact with government services. One such e-service would be the request and online payment for retrieval of one’s national birth certificate or the filing of taxes online.