Uruguay is a leading software exporter country in Latin America and is one of the leading country in the area of electronic government according to UN e-Government Survey report 2018. The factors leading to strong growth of Uruguay in ICT space include:
- In 2007, AGESIC (Agency for the Development of Electronic Management Government and for the Information and Knowledge Society) was created with an objective to strengthen public administration through ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and foster social inclusion.
- With AGESIC came funding support for e-Government, open government and digital inclusion initiatives that directly or indirectly improved administration effectiveness.
- A buy-in from government leaders and support from Presidency of the Republic helped speedier roll-out of electronic services.
- ICT Projects driven by AGESIC are oriented towards innovation and value generations. The project management teams at AGESIC are led by brilliant leaders who have experience in government domain and ICT projects.
“The ICT infrastructure and leadership intent also fostered transformation of the largest city of Uruguay where one-third of the citizens reside. Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay became smart with out having a smart city plan.”
Background of Montevideo
Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay having a population of 13 Lakh according to 2011 census. Montevideo city is divided in 8 municipal areas and 62 neighbvourhoods. In the Mercer ranking 2015, Montevideo was qualified as the city with best quality of life in Latin America. The city has maintained this title for over a decade now. Mercer measured the city in areas such as political situation, social issues, economy, environmental issues, availability of public services, transport, housing, health etc. The key initiatives that contributed to leapfrogging Montevideo to smart city list are mentioned as under:
- ICT initiatives driven as part of the National Agenda: Some of the action items that are counted in Mercer’s evaluation were already part of the National Agenda 2011-15, and have received appropriate impetus. These include:
- Broadband access to 80% of the Uruguyan households
- All public employees and Citizens to use electronic signatures in all their interactions with State.
- Electronic reports are available for Central and State Administration.
- 80% of the government processes are available electronically. This also include engagement with Citizens.
- City of Montevideo is also executing a Project Montevideo involving use of Information and Communication Technologies.
- Antel Arena offering physical space for availing services, popularizing sports and culture.
- Centralized traffic control, monitoring and electronic management. The before and after study shows that the initiative led to 12% reduction in travel time and 20% reduction in wait time at intersections.
- Legal Framework for developing Uruguay as open information society. Some of the legislative indications in this direction are:
- Publication of all data managed by Intendencia Municipal.
- Prioritizing adoption of Open Source technologies in development of applications for Municipal government.
- Regulations of the right to access public information
- Creation of AGESIC, which also coordinated efforts for Uruguay to become a member of Open Government Partnership.
- Technology Management
- Uruguay has one of the best internet connectivity speed in Latin America.
- Mobility initiatives to gather information from traffic movements using sensors and introduction of electric cars.
- Smart Services
- Many departments have implemented multi-channel ICT based services for citizens.
- Citizen participation initiatives by the city such as Open Data, Open Source, Free Software and Open Knowledge wherever applicable.