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Timothy DUBEL: “Working with open data may increase Ukraine’s GDP by 1-2 percent”

15 February, 2016 - 18:09
Timothy DUBEL
Timothy DUBEL

How can Ukraine respond to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, what benefits will the national IT reap from the opening of data, and why is Moldova surpassing us in the development of e-government?

The Day discussed this with Timothy Dubel, Regional eGov Advisor, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus at USAID, member of the Open Data Hackathon jury.

Looking at all the steps that have been implemented in Ukraine during the past three years in the area of open data, how do you think what feedback can we expect in coming years?

“It’s hard to say. There is data available from the research in European Union, even in United States that open data, specifically public open data, has a positive impact on GDP. It creates jobs, it creates new services, of course generates tax because of the new economic activity. So, there is definitely a positive impact on the economy overall and GDP. It’s hard to say, but it could have a significant impact in Ukraine. That can be 1 or 2 percent impact on GDP.”

You work with Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus. How has Ukraine positioned itself in developing projects based on open data and in developing e-government?

“I am the e-government adviser for the region, but I focus most of my time and energy in Ukraine.

“So, to compare Ukraine and Moldova is a challenge, the one important difference is that Ukraine has a very dynamic IT sector, the IT sector in Moldova is much smaller, there it is just beginning. The potential in Ukraine is very big because of the IT capacity already here. Moldova has more of a challenge to build IT capacity and to begin to provide technology for the government.

“That said, Moldova in terms of policy and implementation of e-governance is further ahead than Ukraine. In Moldova they pursuit a Cloud, first approach, which means they try to bring everything to a Cloud, all of the government services, and they are moving along that path.”

If we look at Ukraine in the context of the whole world, how do you think, what Ukraine can answer to the challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which were mentioned at the World Economic Forum in Davos? In particular, developing projects on open data.

“Yes, it has often been called – what we experiencing now – the Fourth Industrial Revolution or development of the information society or knowledge society and this is the process that has been going on and accelerating in different parts of the world.

“I attended a session at the Verkhovna Rada earlier this week, a plenary session on the information society development in Ukraine specifically and I think it underscored how broad a topic this is. The information society includes access to the Internet for everyone in a country including vulnerable population – the elderly or people who may not have income levels to afford Internet access; the technology of providing Internet access, whether it’s broadband or latest generation mobile connections across the country.

“Of course the legislation and policy to be put in place to allow for the application of technology in education, health care services, etc. I think that Ukraine can also look to for information society is building on very strong research and development capacity in Ukrainian universities and institutions and helping to commercialize those innovations. To really generate business based on innovations not just to do research and development but to look at taking those ideas and bringing them to market.

“Some countries do a better job in that area, and Ukraine can look to some examples in US or parts of Western Europe, where there’s more partnership between universities and academia and the private sector.

“And not the last thing in terms of open data specifically does go to partnership. I think that the stakeholders in open data include the government, it includes the private sector, it includes non-governmental organizations and civil society. And these stakeholders need to look at partnership opportunities and these are new types of opportunities that can be pursued, they take some time to form, but there are many new opportunities for partnership.”