The Future of Government is Now

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The pandemic and its multiple shocks have changed (and are changing) the way governments work. Faced with the need for quick response, governments across the world paid more attention to what was most needed to protect lives and secure livelihood. Now, coming out of the pandemic, governments have the opportunity to change for good. The World Bank’s new Future of Government report provides lays out how governments can achieve this.

The future looks very different for governments in different regions and countries across the globe, depending on individual country contexts. However, all governments, without exception, find themselves at an inflection point, with the Covid pandemic, climate change, and conflicts, especially the recent war in Ukraine and a looming economic crisis. These overlapping crises are affecting societies and economies in an unprecedented way.

Now, more than ever, governments will need to reflect on their role, how they can best deliver services and goods to citizens and ensure that trust is maintained, and how they can be better prepared for future crises. Governments will therefore need to embark on a journey that addresses these issues while reflecting on the current paradigm of increasing crises and shocks. The new Future of Government report from the World Bank provides a template on how governments can achieve this.  Given the wide-ranging contexts that governments work under, it is clear that there are no well-prescribed paths that governments can take. Each government will have to chart its own path. But, working to solve their own problems and achieve their own ambitions within the broad framework that the report provides, the governments of today can become more effective governments of the future.



At the onset of the pandemic, the World Bank quickly realized that it had created opportunities and sparked drivers for change—as crises often do. The thought was then on how to support governments to make the change this time truly transformative, reimagining government with robust learning from the past in terms of what works and does not.

Governance is critical in the development of any country, and with the growing set of crises and uncertainties the world is facing today and the intransigent problems in delivery that governments faced prior to the crises, it will only grow in importance. And more than ever before, governments and development partners must put citizens clearly at the center of interventions and initiatives.  In a rapidly changing world, governments must continuously reflect on the needs and wants of their citizens to be truly responsive and effective. More so, citizens’ needs are changing, and their expectations of government are much higher than in the past. New technologies are opening up space for unprecedented understanding of these needs and governments have a real opportunity to become much more effective.



The World Bank is using this moment as a call for action for governments to pro-actively reflect and plan on how to become the Government of the Future that puts the people first.  Our Governance Global Practice has achieved much on the governance front over the last few years, a most challenging time. This is despite the fact that governance reforms take time to implement and progress can be slow, given the powerful vested interests that are often impacted. Using our own instruments, our teams have supported countries to strengthen their capacities to deliver public services and provide an enabling environment for private sector development.

Notable areas in which we have worked, include public finance systems and processes (including public procurement and public investment management); domestic resource mobilization; and public employment management, from the center of government to local government. Other areas include transparency and accountability of governments, anticorruption, justice and rule of law, GovTech solutions, and SOE reforms. The areas are wide-ranging and the scope of our impact has been global. However, there is still much to be done and the World Bank is ready to help governments that would like to use this moment in history to make lasting change.

As articulated in the Future of Government report, we would need to support governments to understand and develop local solutions that address their own governance challenges to service delivery, taking into account their own contexts. Our support to client countries in the process of reform would be greatly facilitate by a robust understanding of the distribution of power and incentives in each country. We would not just be providing technical inputs and finance but also playing the role of a convener, facilitator and broker.


Replay Future of Government: Reimagining Government for Good and download the latest Future of Government report here.

What are your thoughts on the future of government? Join the discussion via Twitter @wbg_gov and by using the hashtag #FutureOfGovernment. For more information, visit our website:

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Ed Olowo-Okere

Senior Advisor in the Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions (EFI) Vice Presidency at the World Bank. 

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