Transportation, water, energy, education. Public infrastructure is the foundation on which economies, societies, and communities have been built for centuries. Indeed, the quality and availability of public infrastructure strategically positions a country for advancement, competitiveness, and a higher standard of living for its citizens.
But today, with almost every aspect of our lives becoming entwined with digital technology, that core concept now needs to be updated and extended by countries around the world to enable digital public infrastructure (DPI) – with goals and expectations set high for both public goods and innovation.
DPI is seen as a game changer for any society. It has the potential to accelerate economic growth,1 to streamline citizens’ access to social services, and to both broaden financial inclusion and dramatically extend engagement with the digital economy.2
In its essence, DPI is an assembly of interoperable digital building blocks that lay down “digital rails” by establishing some fundamentals: the unique identity of people, a scalable flow of data between institutions, and a secure infrastructure for digital payments. With such a foundation in place, commercial and public entities can create any number of applications that leverage a DPI to deliver services in areas as diverse as telemedicine, money transfers, remote education, e-commerce, and retail activities.