Digitalization in Cyprus
Published on February 23, 2023
Countries worldwide are taking steps, both at the national and international levels, to maximize the benefit of digitalization. The world has had to adjust to the fast-moving digitalization trend, which has allowed Cyprus to establish itself as a country open to new inventions and innovations.
In light of all the opportunities that digitalization brings, the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy (DMRID) has taken up supporting scientific research, implementing digital transformation, and investing in innovative entrepreneurship.
Since the DMRID was launched at the same time the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, its aim at that time was to provide infrastructures to tackle the challenges brought by the pandemic. These infrastructures include setting up platforms for recording medical issues relating to the pandemic and payment of social welfare allowances.
In light of this, the primary task that the DMRID has embarked on was to create an online portal capable of hosting multiple services provided mainly by the Ministry of Labour, the Town Planning and Housing Department, the Tax Department, and the commerce industry.
In line with automation and innovation, Cyprus has implemented several reports and policy measures. These measures include the Digital Strategy for Cyprus (2020-2030), which aims to digitally transform the public sector and the private sector and encourage innovation that matches the country’s level of digital maturity.
Also, there’s the Research and Innovation Strategy Framework (2019-2023), the Artificial Intelligence Strategy Report (in greek only), and the National Strategy for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). These are the measures Cyprus has put in place to embrace new technologies and digital research.
Regarding the Cyprus court system, a plan has been put in place to implement an e-justice system; this means the court will have to employ electronic means to carry out legal activities, which are traditionally time-consuming. Although there were a few challenges while implementing the e-justice system, the system is now functioning correctly.
Cyprus had to embrace digital-oriented policies since there was a need to maintain social distancing and limit physical movement, digitalization became the order of the day. Finally, digitalization is a vital part of the Cyprus government, and provided that it continues to keep up with modern developments, it will be able to distinguish itself as a digitally friendly EU Member state.
Cyprus Digital Strategy for 2020-2025
Cyprus Digital Strategy for 2020-2025 is the ever-needed master plan and policy document to boost Cyprus’s digital transformation. The Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digital Policy are responsible for implementing the Digital Strategy.
Digital Strategy for Cyprus 2020-2025 is designed to bring about change. According to the vision statement of the Digital Strategy, Cyprus will become a future-ready society, and this will be achieved through digital and emerging technologies that will improve economic growth, social prosperity, and international competitiveness
Actualizing the vision depends on achieving four critical objectives:
● Technology that works for people
● A sustainable, resilient, and thriving digital economy
● An open and democratic digital society
● A green, digital transition for Cyprus
The Digital Government Portfolio includes brilliant initiatives that are very beneficial to the transformation of the government. This strategy consists of initiatives and plans aimed at improving the skills of citizens to increase their digitalization capability. While the Digital Infrastructure, Economy, and Society Portfolio comprise programs that will affect the national infrastructure, economy, and society.
Digital Skills National Action Plan 2021-2025
The Digital Skills National Action Plan 2021-2025 seeks to improve and develop the digital competency of the entire Cypriot population:
● Delivering an inclusive, open, digital society
● Improving the basic digital and basic software skills of the citizens of Cyprus
● Creating a critical mass of ICT experts in the country
The action plan will be executed by the Cypriot National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs, which the DMRID activated in the third quarter of 2022.
Actions so far
The Cyprus government is taking some active measures and setting goals regarding digital transformation. Some of the most recent achievements in digital transformation include:
● Nicosia water board saving €240,000 a year by making bills digital
● Public hospitals are signing €46m a deal to enter the digital age
● €20 million to improve all schools digitally
● Putting an end to paperwork for the application for unemployment benefits and allowing it in digital form
Where is Cyprus, digitally?
The number of digitally skilled people in Cyprus is about 50% of the entire population as of 2021. Generally, Cyprus is lagging digitally compared to other advanced countries considering that at least 10% of the population lack access to the Internet.
If Cyprus wants to reach the same level as the EU average digitally, then they need to improve the digital skills of a more significant part of its population.
The Cyprus government is taking active steps into becoming a digital government. They’ve set up different digital infrastructures and made massive contributions towards promoting digital literacy. However, in order to achieve a stable digital government and a better digital future, the Cyprus government need make more efforts and learn from other digitally advanced countries.
About the Author
Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.
He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.
After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.
He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.
As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.
More from Mohammad J Sear
THURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2023
THURSDAY, 09 FEBRUARY 2023
THURSDAY, 02 FEBRUARY 2023