Between inclusivity and innovation: an overview of the Materials of the “Digitalization” working group

Main photo for post Between inclusivity and innovation: an overview of the Materials of the “Digitalization” working group
Author's photo for Institute of Innovative Governance

Institute of Innovative Governance


Those who are familiar with Ukraine should not be surprised that the country has undergone a very strong digitalisation development. In 2021, Ukraine witnessed a 36% year-on-year growth in its IT exports, reaching a total of USD 6.8 billion, which accounted for 10% of the nation's overall export value. Simultaneously, the IT industry in Ukraine expanded its workforce from 200,000 to 250,000 IT professionals in startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as large corporations. Moreover, the Ukrainian national digital platform Diia, which began its operations in 2020, has become a vital part of the country's digital setup and socio-economic development. As of today, Diia has over 19 million users and in 2023 it was even upgraded through new educational features (Diia.Education) and created digital skills development opportunities for Ukrainian citizens.

However, The Russian Federation's aggression war on Ukraine is significantly disrupting those developments. Due to the persistent attacks on Internet infrastructures, which are essential for the resilience and continued expansion of the digital economy, Ukraine is facing potential significant challenges in terms of digital development and inclusion.

In terms of policy, the Ukrainian government is well-aware of the implications of this situation. A few months after the Russian invasion, the National Council for the Recovery of Ukraine from the Consequences of the War has set up a working group that has outlined different scenarios for the post-war digital recovery. The produced document (simply called Ukraine Recovery Plan - Materials of the “Digitalization” working group) is a very informative outline on the future digital development policies of Ukraine.

First, the document covers different timeframes: short-term (end of 2022), medium-term (from 2023 to 2025), and long-term (from 2026 to 2032). In the short term goals, the focus is primarily on issues related to the ongoing war and ensuring the survival of the country. However, the medium and long-term goals have a broader perspective and focus on a series of policy topics that are recognised as key for the future of digitalisation in Ukraine. For instance, they include specific objectives like enhancing public services through digitalization and improving digital infrastructure. Furthermore, these plans connect Ukraine's existing policy documents with its aspirations for European Union integration and certain social indicators, such as expected progress in digital inclusion by 2025 and 2032.

Second, the key concept on which this document is based is balancing innovation and inclusivity. This is a recurring theme throughout the document, and it underpins three core pillars of the plan. For instance, when it comes to “Digital Infrastructure”, the document underscores the importance of ensuring accessibility and expanding opportunities for a broad spectrum of people and groups of individuals. In the section dedicated to “Internet recovery” and development, there is a stronger emphasis on promoting both digital inclusion and innovation through the development, expansion, and implementation of a comprehensive IT education roadmap. Lastly, in the segment titled "Public Services and Registers" the document focuses on enhancing accessibility for citizens and service providers. This underscores the commitment to ensuring that digital services are user-friendly and readily accessible to the public, while also supporting the financial needs of those offering these services.

Last but not least, it is remarkable that this document includes a specific mention on digital accessibility as it is recognised as a crucial element to ensure digital accessibility based on the so-called “barrier-free” concept. In other words, Ukrainian authorities believe that digital accessibility should follow a set of principles that treat all people the same way, making sure that as many individuals as possible can use digital resources without any obstacles or barriers. As the concept of barrier-free digital media is recognised to be a global standard, it is clear that the Ukrainian recovery plan in the digital accessibility sphere will combine elements of innovation with inclusivity.

In summary, this document stands as an outstanding and ambitious policy plan that is set to significantly influence Ukraine's digital policies in the upcoming years. The complete implementation of this plan has the potential not only to facilitate a sustained recovery for Ukraine but also to propel its economy forward for the next several decades.Therefore, it is in the best interest of stakeholders, both within Ukraine and globally, to continually highlight and support the ongoing implementation of this plan. If this occurs, the digital prospects for Ukraine could surpass even the most optimistic expectations.

Let's make Ukraine inclusive and accessible for everyone!

Check your website