Co-Creating Our Digital Future: How Open-Source Technology Can Expand Inclusive Digital Public Infrastructure
After years of working on digital transformation to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) recognizes that the next seven years (2023 to 2030) present a unique window of opportunity for expanding safe, inclusive, and trusted foundational digital public infrastructure (DPI).
This moment arises from the growing political consensus regarding the need for DPI, as demonstrated by the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Expert Panel on Digital Cooperation convened in 2018, the launch of the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) in 2019, the Charter for Digital Public Goods (DPG Charter) drafted in 2022, India’s focus on DPI during its G20 presidency in 2023, and the forthcoming Global Digital Compact, to be agreed upon in September 2024.
This paper seeks to help the global community take advantage of this window of opportunity by presenting insights from Digital Impact Alliance’s years of working with governments and partners on digital transformation. From this experience, we offer three overarching insights:
- It is necessary to focus on foundational digital public infrastructure in order to effectively drive individual empowerment and private-sector innovation.
- Digital public goods (DPGs) can help overcome many of the current challenges associated with developing foundational digital public infrastructure.
- The conditions required for digital public goods to be a viable, long-term option for digital public infrastructure will not emerge organically.
We do not expect that all countries will implement DPGs in all cases. However, we do see a number of benefits of DPGs that are leading governments to choose these open-source products. To support this decision and maximize the benefits of DPGs, we present five outcomes that, when accomplished through coordinated efforts, will create an ecosystem that offers a full suite of sustainable digital public goods that supports countries and regions as they design, deploy, and maintain their own unique, safe, and inclusive digital systems.