Open Government is increasingly perceived as a new paradigm for ICT-enabled government transformation offering a number of instruments for improved governance, transparency and innovation. Ulyanovsk Oblast of Russia has already made substantial progress in e-government, IT industry development and IT literacy, and has taken practical steps that have made it an early leader in Open Government initiatives in Russia, as recognized in a study published in May 2012 by the Russian Institute of the Information Society. The city of Ulyanovsk also ranked first among 30 Russian cities on the ease of doing business in the World Bank-IFC Doing Business project. Svetlana Openysheva, Vice Chair of the Government and Minister of ICT of Ulyanovsk Oblast, believes that the government’s openness and strive for transparency has contributed greatly to making Ulyanovsk an attractive business location. By advancing Open Government and Open Data in the region, Ulyanovsk Oblast plans to create new possibilities for the private sector and IT based service companies, and enhance investment-friendly environment to boost economic growth in the region.
Lada Strelkova, Program Coordinator for Russia at the World Bank, and Svetana Openysheva, Minister for ICT of Ulyanovsk Oblast, signing MoU to begin a long-term fruitful cooperation on ICT-related issues in Open Government.
The government of Ulyanovsk is looking to greatly expand IT skills development and digital literacy programs to boost the development of a vibrant IT industry; stimulate investments into the region’s IT sector and improve its export potential; develop a data driven open government ecosystem, focusing especially on Open Government Data, growth of knowledge-based businesses, and development of mechanisms and incentives for expanding access to broadband Internet. Therefore, the government has requested the World Bank’s assistance with the e-transformation of Ulyanovsk Oblast.
A delegation from the Ministry of ICT of Ulyanovsk Oblast visited the World Bank in the end of October formalize the agreement to collaborate and to seek the World Bank’s to move the region’s Open Government agenda forward. Svetlana Openysheva gave a presentation to World Bank staff on her region's achievements in Open Government. For example, Dimitrovgrad city of Ulyanovsk Oblast has piloted websites on government budget disclosure and real-time transport route information. Other government’s initiatives include: equipping postmen with iPads to make government e-services accessible to populations in the remote locations; reaching an agreement with local mobile phone stores to promote government websites on smart phones; and launch of the Governor’s “Word of Authority” web project that tracks the status of promises made by government officials. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion on how the World Bank can support Ulyanovsk Oblast’s efforts to make the region a national knowledge hub on Open Government and Open Data.
On October 25, 2012, the World Bank and the Government of Russia's Ulyanovsk Oblast signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin a long-term collaboration on Open Government, Open Data and IT sector development. MoU assumes two phases of collaboration: strengthening Ulyanovsk Oblast’s leadership in Open Government and strengthening its role as a globally competitive IT destination. The joint activities of the first phase will include a readiness assessment of Open Government in the region, a strategy for a Center of Excellence on Open Government with a focus on Open Data, an Open Data platform, and a large-scale international conference in Ulyanovsk in Spring 2013. With the World Bank’s assistance, Ulyanovsk Oblast will develop a strategic action plan for Open Government Data building on its existing achievements, to maintain and enhance its regional leadership in Open Government, and serve as benchmark for other regions.
To watch the presentation by Svetlana Openysheva, Vice Chair of the Government and Minister of ICT of Ulyanovsk Oblast, at the World Bank please follow the link: http://worldbankva.adobeconnect.com/p9tss5zc8om/.