Digitalisation triggers fundamental changes in society and the economy. New technologies offer a whole host of possibilities for developing countries, but they also bear risks. SECO supports digitalisation initiatives that promote sustainable economic development.
Digital transformation opens up new opportunities and prospects for developing countries. Digital technologies help to achieve development goals faster and more efficiently and make development more sustainable. For instance, apps on mobile phones can facilitate access to digital banking services and new data systems can make tax administrations more transparent.
Switzerland’s international cooperation strategy 2021–2024 will rely more heavily on digitalisation as a driver for sustainable development. SECO systematically factors the opportunities offered by digital advancement into its activities and also helps to minimise the risks associated with technological innovation, such as a lack of data protection or illicit financial flows.
Digital solutions for administrations and companies
SECO offers its partner countries support in the design and implementation of digital solutions in the public and private sector. Thereby it places an emphasis on:
modernising public institutions and services with a view to improving access to institutions, dismantling bureaucracy and combating corruption (GovTech);
promoting innovative financial technologies to open up access to funding and financial services for people and companies (FinTech);
supporting SMEs in digitalisation processes with a view to making them more competitive and integrating them in international value chains and trading systems (e-trade);
equipping people with the necessary skills for handling and using digital technologies in the working environment (skills).
Digitalisation is an important driver of sustainable development.
Creating institutional frameworks
SECO also helps its partner countries regulate the digital environment and create the necessary institutional framework conditions. That includes data security and dealing with cyber risks or attacks. In order to enable partner countries to participate in digital trade and communication, they must comply with international standards; SECO helps them to implement the relevant regulations and requirements.
SECO ensures that the use of new technologies is anchored in the local context and that people develop the necessary skills and commitment to preserve the changes brought about by digital transformation in the long term.
SECO helps the Ghanaian population to gain access to financial services; its focus here is primarily on promoting the potential of digital financial services. It supports the government to establish and implement the relevant legal framework and regulatory environment, while at the same time seeking to reinforce the capacities of key partners in government and the private sector. Through the programme the use of mobile money accounts has increased by more than 50 percent and the number of account holders has risen from 8.3 to 12.7 million. These accounts are cost-effective and thus affordable for poorer sections of the population. Furthermore, they are available in more remote areas too.