Georgia - Building a Strong Network between People and Government Offices
Primary thematic focus: Capacity challenges in post-crisis and transitional situations
In a Nutshell:
The project helped to develop the nationwide Government of Georgia Network (GGN), which offers a reliable e-network to connect remote agencies. GGN provides a swift and effective exchange of information between citizens and government organizations.
“E-governance” was an exotic notion to most Georgians in 2006, when the Office of the State Minister on Reforms Coordination launched the nationwide Government of Georgia Network (GGN) initiative. The GGN offers a reliable network to connect remote agencies. The ability to exchange a large volume of data at high-speed is important for organizations having more than one branch, such as state entities, banks, microfinance companies, supermarket chains, distribution companies, etc. Innovative procurement by government expands Georgia’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, simultaneously reducing the government’s ICT costs and improving its functions.
USAID Business Climate Reform drafted technical specifications for the competitive procurement and helped review proposals. Mobile provider MagtiCom built the infrastructure at its own cost in return for the government’s guarantees of a minimum number of users. MagtiCom completed the first stage of the Georgian Government Network (GGN) project, three months early, in November 2008. More than 400 government offices across Georgia have been interconnected by a modern, secure, high-speed network. Services include Internet, telephone services, video-conferencing, and technical support. Rates are based on usage volume. The lowest rates—for at least 350 offices—have already been achieved, saving government’s agencies about 75% of previous costs.
All regional offices of the Civil Registry Agency have been connected, a service which facilitated registration and support for those internally displaced by the Russia-Georgia conflict. Georgia’s Social Security Agency reports that networking its regional offices reduced the time required to process aid applications from two weeks to two days. “We have calculated cost savings on human resources at $654,000,” said Mikhail Ja-niashvili, head of the IT department of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Security. According to George Vashadze, Chairman of the Civil Registry of the Ministry of Justice, the working process has been significantly simplified. “The data on the central server is being permanently updated. Now it is more reliable than ever,” said Vashadze. Implementation of the nationwide GGN has also helped facilitate delivery by the government of an increasing array of electronic citizen services, including e-abstracts of property registrations, electronic filing of tax returns and faster customs clearance times for traders.
Results and Critical Factors:
Thanks to the GGN initiative, all 83 outlets of the National Agency for Public Registry (NAPR) of the Ministry of Justice have become interconnected. Of those, 69 are situated outside of Tbilisi, and some are located in the most remote locations in Georgia. “All NAPR regional offices are now connected to GGN, which will be used as a primary channel of communication among government agencies. This will help streamline agency processes, ensure readily available and organized information, reduce transaction times between businesses and the government, and reduce opportunities for error and corruption,” said Mr. Ebanoidze, head of NAPR.
GGN also helps facilitate the process of obtaining an identification card in Georgia. If any document is missing from the application, there is no need to visit other institutions to obtain them, as all necessary documents can be received electronically. The strength of GGN e-governance lies in its reliability, undisrupted power supply, and low cost, estimated to save the Government of Georgia $12.5 million annually.
Name of Primary Contact Person: Giuliana Canessa
Title of Primary Contact Person: Practice Manager, Chemonics
City: Washington, DC