News & Events / 2022 Year in Review: Setting the Foundation for the Digital Future

2022 Year in Review: Setting the Foundation for the Digital Future

2022 Year in Review  Setting the Foundation for the Digital Future
Jan 17, 2023

GovStack was started in 2020 when four organizations (Estonia, GIZ, ITU, and the Digital Impact Alliance) came together with the goal of accelerating national digital transformation for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.  In 2022, the initiative launched multiple new country collaborations, published technical specifications, formed new communities of practice, and grew in size and scope, onboarding new full-time staff and software integrators. In this blog, we are looking back on 2022 and everything we have achieved and we share some of our aspirations for 2023.

Building Blocks

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GovStack is defining the specifications for the foundational building blocks that are needed for eGovernment services. Based on these specifications, digital products can be developed, and existing products can be tested for compliance with the specifications and adapted if necessary.

Using a collaborative and cohesive co-design and development process among members of our various working groups, we released the first draft (version 0.9) of 6 building block specifications – for Payments, Identity and Verification, Registration, Digital Registries, Information Mediator, and Security. You can now find the specifications on GitBook and review and add your thoughts:

Looking ahead to 2023, we are excited to:
  • Release the Wave 3 specifications for the Geographic Information Services, e-Marketplace, e-Signature, Cloud, and UX-UI building blocks
  • Publish version 1.0 publication of the GovStack Framework including Wave 1 & 2 Building Blocks, with the associated Core Use Cases and Core Workflows, and the interconnections between them

County Engagements

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The GovStack team was thrilled to kick off 6 country engagements this year – Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Egypt, Rwanda & Ukraine. Each country partnership is based on the unique needs and current digital transformation journey of each country. In some cases, this meant co-designing workshops and trainings and identifying priority use cases to be prototyped. In 2022, we had over 300 total participants across 4 countries.

This year also saw the co-design of the GovStack Implementation Playbook.The Playbook is an extension of the SDG Digital Investment Framework that provides a step-by-step guide on incorporating a BB approach at the level of institutional governance, ICT policy, citizen-centric co-design & delivery of government digital services. The Playbook is currently being reviewed by a team of technical experts.

Looking ahead to 2023, we are excited to:
  • Host in-country workshops and trainings as part of the “Initiative for Digital Government and Cybersecurity” (IDGC) for the Horn of Africa Initiative in Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti
  • Publish version 1.0 of the Implementation Playbook in GitBook for others to use
  • Launch the GovStack Learning Management System with essential digital government learning courses


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As we make progress towards defining a large library of building blocks, we are dreaming up a digital testing environment where anyone can learn, experiment, and prototype services. This year, we evaluated proposals from potential partners to help us build the GovStack sandbox for just this purpose. We selected GoFore as our partner and we’ve onboarded a team of 13 to start building the sandbox so we can ship the first reference implementation.

Looking ahead to 2023, we are excited to:
  • Publish the first use cases via the sandbox, leveraging various open-source software solutions compliant with building block specs
  • Integrate 10 software products into the sandbox
  • Develop a sustainable and technically-proven setup for continuous development of the sandbox and a user-friendly onboarding process

Communities of Practice

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GovStack’s communities of practice seek to unite governments, civil society, and the private sector to connect, maintain, and share digital commons and best practices. This year saw the creation of a brand new community of practice with the launch of GovStack’s CIO Digital Leaders Forum. At the inaugural session at WSIS 2022, we featured six countries – Peru, Ukraine, Estonia, Egypt, Rwanda, and India – who all shared their learnings, challenges, and hopes for the digital transformation of their governments. In the next iteration of the series, we hosted a Digital Leaders Forum Demo Day at the GovTech Summit, featuring demonstrations of two real-world digital services, Visor Urbano (Jalisco, MX) and Ventanilla Digital de Inversiones (Yucatan, MX).

The GovStack community of practice convened in partnership with the DPGA met with the purpose of identifying and supporting the advancement of digital public goods with relevance to GovStack’s whole-of-government approach. The group decided it was crucial to create an aligned understanding of key definitions and relationships between terms, namely: digital public infrastructure, building blocks, and digital public goods.
Read more in the co-authored blog.

Looking ahead to 2023, we are excited to:
  • Set up new Communities of Practice in regions where GovStack is being implemented
  • Continue the CIO Digital Leaders Forum at high-level conferences
  • Customize learning plans according to different Communities of Practice

Global Advocacy

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In 2022, GovStack kicked off its advocacy work to promote our framework and the use of interoperable and reusable components. This included launching our social media channels and version 1.0 of our website, where we published 20 blog posts discussing our philosophy and work. We also spoke at 19 events – from high-level political forums to open-source community conferences, from Nairobi to New Orleans – where we often spoke alongside GovStack advocates and digital government practitioners.

Looking ahead to 2023, we are excited to:
  • Award the GovStack Special Prize at WSIS Forum 2023
  • Launch the GovStack Research Agenda
  • Defend 4 master theses on GovStack topics at Tallinn University of Technology
  • Publish digital transformation success stories to inspire the community with what’s possible

An invitation for 2023

GovStack’s mission is ambitious – to accelerate national digital transformation by creating a toolbox for e-government – all in support of the achievement of the UN SDGs.  Moving into 2023, we confidently march towards that goal knowing we have a team of brilliant minds and passionate hearts. And we invite the global community to come along with us.

Join our mailing list to stay up to date on everything we’re doing and opportunities to get involved.

Want to dive in head-first? Review and contribute to the GovStack specifications in GitBook.

Want to keep up with GovStack news and activities?

This just in! Check out our latest GovSpecs publication