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Budgets and Bytes: How can digital improve public spending?

Time (GMT +00) 09:30 17:30
Image credit:Jonas Leupe via Unsplash


There is currently a lot of optimism around the potential of digitalisation to reshape how governments manage their public finances to be more responsive to contemporary challenges and expectations. Much of this optimism is well founded. Digitalisation is already changing how governments administer both taxation and spending, and deliver public services. During the Covid-19 pandemic, governments with good digital public infrastructure were better positioned to design and implement timely fiscal policy responses, from the UK Government’s furlough scheme to Colombia’s ingreso solidario cash transfer programme.

However, digital solutions to improve public spending often fall short of expectations. ‘Big bang’ approaches take a long time to implement, are expensive and produce disappointing results. Governments can find themselves locked into legacy technologies and closed architectures, making them less responsive to the changing needs and expectations of users – both civil servants and citizens. These approaches contrast sharply with emerging approaches to digital government that emphasise a more flexible architecture and agile delivery models that promise greater value for money.

With governments looking to realise the potential of digitalisation amid tight fiscal constraints, this event brings together a range of voices working across different disciplines – public finance, digital and service delivery – to consider questions including:

- How are finance ministries thinking about the evolution of the technology architecture that underpins their financial management systems as well as other digital opportunities?

- What are digital teams doing to bring more data into public spending decision-making processes?

- What broader cultural shifts are required to overcome obstacles to realising the potential of digitalisation to improve public spending?

Find out more about our work on public finance and digitalisation.


  • 1650898180903

    Gerardo Uña

    Head of Capacity Development Strategy Support Team, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund

  • Kirsty innes

    Kirsty Innes

    Director of Digital Government, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

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    Dr. Yakama Jones

    Director of Research and Delivery, Sierra Leone Ministry of Finance

  • Dr.-Saad-Ali-Shire

    Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire

    Minister of Finance, Somaliland

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    Anir Chowdhury

    Policy Advisor, a2i Bangladesh

  • Sheila Kigozi_

    Sheila Kigozi

    Director, ODI Budget Strengthening Initiative, Uganda

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    Prashanth Chandramouleeswaran

    Associate Director, eGov Foundation, India

  • Gemini Mtei.jpg

    Gemini Mtei

    Finance Team Lead, USAID/Abt Associates, Tanzania

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    Marco Cangiano

    ODI Senior Research Associate (and former Assistant Director, International Monetary Fund)

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    Emily Middleton

    Partner for International Development, Public Digital

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    James Stewart

    Partner and Lead Technology Specialist, Public Digital

More speakers to be confirmed.