Rebuild, reset, recover: what role for digital technology?

January 19, 2021
Global
Digital & technology

In 2020, governments across the globe raced to protect the wellbeing and livelihoods of citizens and businesses. Delivering vital welfare payments to alleviate hardship, credit lines to keep small businesses going and economic stimulus to mitigate the impact and accelerate recovery.

Governments are utilising technology to solve welfare and financial stimulus challenges in the wake of COVID-19. Pensioners and the vulnerable were able to stay at home, school children were fed and educated and businesses continued to trade. But, this digital approach is not just a crisis response, it is supporting personal and financial wellbeing over the long-term and will be the key driver of economic recovery.

Many turned to digital solutions for the first time, many adapted existing digital tools, many families and businesses benefitted. But while digitization enables inclusion, it can also raise the barriers. For example, areas can lack the physical infrastructure, or citizens can lack digital skills or access.

This Global Government Forum/Global Government Fintech webinar, supported by our knowledge partner Mastercard, convened representatives of governments to discuss how increasingly digital ways of working can help societies and economies to rebuild, reset and recover.

Our panel addressed these questions:

  • How have digital tools been used by governments worldwide to help individuals and small businesses financially?
  • What examples showcase governments using technology in a particularly novel and effective way?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to using digital technology to help citizens and small businesses?
  • As economies re-build post-Covid, which trends are likely to continue and further accelerate?

Panel

Webinar chair: Jennifer Duncan, Vice President – Government Innovation (Global), Mastercard

Jennifer has spent most of her career in government affairs and communications. She joined Mastercard in 2014 and in her current role focuses on addressing societal problems facing governments, the wider public sector and the citizens they serve – putting policy into practice. In 2020 she was named as the payments industry’s Emerging Female Leader. She is currently leading Mastercard’s work with governments around the world to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jennifer is a passionate believer in public private partnerships and has been involved in a wide range of policy issues including contactless transport, social welfare, digital procurement, financial inclusion, security and sustainability. Jennifer is a member of the UK Government’s ‘Inclusive Economy Partnership Financial Inclusion Steering Group’ and she led a govt/industry initiative to reduce a card fraud for the UK Home Office (2016-2018).

John Le Fondré, Chief Minister of Jersey

Senator Le Fondré was elected Chief Minister on 4 June 2018, following his election as Senator in May’s General Election.

Senator Le Fondré had previously served as Deputy of St Lawrence from 2005 to 2018. Since his election in 2005, he has held a number of Assistant Ministerial positions within the Treasury, the Chief Minister’s Department and the Infrastructure Department. In 2014, he became Chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel within the States Assembly and, from 2017, Chair of the Brexit Scrutiny Panel. He also represented the Island within the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie and the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

Prior to entering the States, Senator Le Fondré was a Chartered Accountant for Ernst and Young, working in Jersey and Luxembourg. He has also held a number of voluntary positions, including over 20 years as Honorary Secretary for a local Housing Trust.

Alexander Bunch, Payments Product Owner, Digital Directorate, Scottish Government

Alex grew up in France, and after studying across the EU (UK, France and Germany), he returned to Paris and had an early career in a variety of roles. Alex started as a consultant in IBM Financial Services before setting up a food imports company, and finally taking a position as Head of Finance and HR in a market intelligence company specialised in the banking and insurance sector. After moving to Scotland in 2014, he was employed exclusively in the public sector, working on a number of exciting projects across the Scottish Government and its arm’s length organisations.