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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Aug 23, 2023

How the US helps accelerate digital transformation

The United States of America (USA) is a global leader in digitalization. It has been on top of the IMD’s World Digital Competitiveness Rankings since 2017. Although the US went down to second place in the 2022 rankings, it only revealed more opportunities for development and improvement.


According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), 2021 data showed that the US digital economy accounted for $3.70 trillion of gross output, $2.41 trillion of value added, translating to 10.3 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP).


In terms of improving federal government services, the US Digital Service (USDS) aims to deliver better government services to the American people by developing human-centered solutions to the federal government’s most pressing technical challenges.


The main strategy is to pair digital experts with leading civil servants so that they can work together to address some of the most critical government services such as simplifying services for veterans, changing how the government hires technical talent, and modernizing child care application process, the medicare payment system, and immigration system, among many others.


But as a global power, the US is also committed to advancing a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. It has been assisting developing nations in their digitalization journey.


In fact, the Philippines is a beneficiary of several projects from the US government. Some of these I have discussed with US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson in several of our meetings.


During the 10th US-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in Manila last January, the US government, through the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), formally launched the ₱118-million grant for 5G deployment in the Philippines.


The US government provided NOW Telecom Company Inc. the said grant to fund a feasibility study for the development of reliable and secure nationwide 5G mobile and broadband networks in the Philippines.


The feasibility study will provide NOW Telecom with the necessary analysis, designs, and plans for the phased implementation of the project.  It will also include the establishment of a 5G pilot network at multiple sites in Metro Manila to validate network performance, test 5G use cases, and provide data to inform larger scale deployment.


Meanwhile, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US government launched the five-year, ₱1.65 billion Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) project that will help improve the Philippines’ ICT and logistics infrastructure; strengthen the regulatory, business, and innovation environment; and bolster cybersecurity.


To help bridge the digital divide in the Philippines, BEACON will also assist the government in automation and digitization efforts, and support community networks to expand low-cost internet access for underserved communities.


Moreover, the USAID also launched last January the Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (SPEED) project, a five-year, ₱1 billion partnership with the Philippine government to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transition to mature e-commerce businesses.


The project will expand the participation of Philippine SMEs in the country’s emerging e-commerce ecosystem by improving their capacity to adopt digital technologies; supporting the integration of SMEs and e-commerce platforms in logistical supply chains; increasing the use of e-payment systems and other Fintech innovations; and strengthening consumer awareness and protection.


We are thankful to countries like the US, who, while also continuously enhancing their digital systems and the overall digital environment, are equally determined to help developing countries meet the demands of a highly digital world.

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