The COVID-19 shock has underscored the importance of digital tools for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of social protection systems. Cross-country evidence suggests that digital IDs linked with bank and/or mobile money accounts can improve the delivery of social protection programs and better reach eligible beneficiaries. Using data from the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey, we present micro simulations on the welfare gains of digital social protection during the pandemic. While digitalization offers opportunities, potential risks would need to be carefully managed. Vietnam is advancing on individual pieces of the digitalization puzzle, including full digital IDs and mobile money, and the next step is to put these pieces together.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Thailand has made significant progress in digital development, including through its industrial transformation policy (Thailand 4.0). In line with the global trend, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated safe distancing measures have further accelerated the digital revolution. Empirical analysis, using granular product-level export data, suggests that digitalization (ICT infrastructure and usage, industrial robot installation and patents) is positively associated with higher export sophistication. While digitalization has been increasing in Thailand, there is sizable scope to further expand digital infrastructure and research and development. The analysis suggests that a multi-pronged approach with emphasis in three key dimensions-technology, investment and training-is needed to appropriately reap the benefits from digitalization.
This paper takes stock of digitalization in Sierra Leone and identifies several factors requiring attention to accelerate digitalization. These factors range from relatively higher cost of the internet, low quality of service, legal and regulatory challenges, low private sector participation, lack of adequate IT skills, and lack of supportive infrastructure gaps. Notwithstanding some challenges, it finds that adoption of digitalization has picked-up in government operations, providing a solid platform for efficient, transparent and effective PFM and improved service delivery in priority sectors such as health, education and agriculture. A wider adoption of Digital Financial Services (DFS) could increase the ease and speed of payments as well as enhancing financial inclusion in Sierra Leone.