Chile has long had one of the highest Internet penetration levels of all the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The question has been how to turn this into a tool to support the country’s economic and social development.
The answer came when Chile, as part of an ambitious ongoing digital development strategy, decided in 2004 to revamp its e-government platform and expand its range of public services over the Internet for citizens and businesses.
With support from the IDB, the country developed a user-friendly, one-stop shop Web platform of electronic services to save Chileans time and money. The platform, known as ChileAtiende, allows Chileans with Internet access to quickly access a wide range of government services, including reporting and blocking lost identification documents, searching for jobs, and enrolling in social assistance programs.
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Completed in 2010, the project also upgraded the electronic government procurement platform to increase its visibility and transparency, and to expand the range of business opportunities for potential government suppliers. The project also offered digital literacy programs and public awareness campaigns to inform citizens about online government services.
During the course of the project, the number of online services offered by the central government through ChileAtiende rose from 350 to 450, an increase of 29 percent. The number of visitors to the portal more than doubled, reaching 4 million unique visits in 2010.
Purchase orders published and awarded through the government’s electronic procurement platform ChileCompra, also part of the project,rose from 917,000 in 2005 to 1.6 million in 2010, an increase of 79 percent. By making its purchases more transparent and accessible, the government created a strong incentive for micro and small companies to go digital in order to bid for contracts. As a result, these companies today supply over a third of the orders awarded on the portal.
The project supported the development of another high-impact innovation: a platform that interconnects government agencies, which allows them to exchange data in real time. By enabling different agencies to talk to each other electronically, the platform reduces the amount of steps required for Chileans to obtain official documents and access certain government services, such as pensions. By the end of 2010, the platform had linked information systems from 20 different government agencies, facilitating the exchange of data for 48 procedures and 39 information services.
With such a range of government services just a click away, Chile is showing how greater connectivity can foster development.