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Ireland’s ‘Harnessing Digital’

There’s no arguing that the Covid-19 pandemic gave much emphasis to the need for digital transformation. A lot of nations have set out their digitalization plans based on the challenges and opportunities that emerged during that period of our history.

Ireland, for instance, launched its new national digital strategy in 2022, building upon the positive elements of its experience during the pandemic.

In its strategy,  Harnessing Digital – The Digital Ireland Framework, the Irish government prioritizes four pillars: the digital transformation of business, investment in digital infrastructure, digital skills development, and the digitalization of public services.

The Irish government will provide grants and assistance to small businesses so they can benefit from digital opportunities. The target is that by 2030, 90 percent of small and medium enterprises (SME) have the necessary digital capability and 75 percent are strongly engaged in cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data. 

The focus is on key productive sectors such as construction, advanced manufacturing, and agriculture, together with financial services, healthcare, transportation, and fintech. 

Another priority is to bridge the digital gap between rural and urban areas by making connectivity available to everyone, including through Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, Remote Working Hubs and Broadband Connection Points. 

Their target is to have all Irish households and businesses covered by Gigabit network no later than 2028 and all populated areas covered by 5G no later than 2030.

In the area of digital skills development, the target is for 80 percent of adults with at least basic digital skills by 2030. Strategies include providing digital skills education and training in schools, higher education, and among middle-aged and older adults. 

The Irish government also aims to ensure widespread access and use of inclusive digital public services, with a target of 90 percent of services to be consumed online by 2030. The digitalization of public sector services is expected to achieve significant improvement in service quality.

Moreover, the country is also investing in cybersecurity to protect Irish citizens and businesses, including increased resources for their National Cyber Security Centre. 

The goal of the Digital Ireland Framework is to help improve the well-being of Irish people by ensuring that all citizens and sectors will be enabled to benefit from digital opportunities.

In a meeting with Irish Ambassador to the Philippines William Carlos early this year, we discussed how our two nations can forge stronger digital cooperation. It is both our nations’ goal to harness the benefits of digital technologies to create more opportunities for economic growth, upgrade the efficiency of public services, and to equip our people with knowledge and skills to become digital citizens.  

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