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How conversational AI powers e-government: Proto in the Philippines


min read

Digital government services are a key way to improve citizen experience in 2023, but developing countries need to scale these solutions carefully. Proto’s deployments with government organisations in the Philippines can serve as a blueprint for other governments looking to scale citizen services over digital channels.

With recent events exposing the fragility of many countries' economies, the need for well-thought-out government development plans is more pressing than ever. The Brookings Institution speculates that 2023 will be a difficult year for developing countries in particular, as they search for innovative ways to respond to ongoing humanitarian and climate crises. 

One solution that has gained traction in recent years is digital transformation – particularly after lockdowns in 2020 accelerated digital transformation of government services around the world. However, governments in developing countries have additional roadblocks to face when it comes to scaling digital solutions. In particular, citizen support over digital channels must be mapped out carefully to avoid widening the gap between underserved communities with less access to the internet and those with more resources. In spite of these challenges, digital governance can be, as EY notes, a “necessary aid” rather than an “optional extra” to further advance the economies of developing countries.

Digital government services in the Philippines

The Philippines is an excellent example of how digital governance can be successful in an emerging economy. The UN E-Government Development Index ranked the Philippines among one of the 73 nations with high digital government implementation in 2022, putting the country’s digitisation efforts further ahead than most other developing countries. Digitisation remains a key element of the Philippine government’s transformation agenda for 2023, building off past successes to aim for better consumer protection, digital adoption, and financial inclusion for citizens. 

Proto’s deployments with operators and regulators in the Philippines align with digitisation efforts that have laid the groundwork for future plans in the Philippine government’s Development Plan 2023. Proto's solution can also improve policymaking by giving governments the ability to collect and analyse data from historical chat records saved in one place.

Proto’s alignment with the Philippine government strategy

The Philippine government’s development plan aims to improve and streamline government services for businesses and citizens across the country. Proto’s deployments with regulators such as the Department of Trade and Industry and operators such as GoodPay are helping achieve government objectives aiming to reduce barriers to government services and increase financial inclusion.

Strategies in the 2023 development plan that align with Proto’s existing deployments and future potential include better regulatory efficiency to promote competition and digital innovation in the financial sector to boost financial inclusion.

Digitisation helps promote competition for a healthy economy

The Philippine government’s framework for better regulatory efficiency aims in part to promote consumer welfare and economic competition with digital tools that make regulatory and business processes more efficient. The chapter notes that wider internet and e-commerce adoption allows smaller businesses to succeed in new markets:

“Increased use of the internet and digital technologies also allowed new and small players to reach consumers and access new markets. Studies have shown that the diffusion of the internet and the adoption of e-commerce can increase competition in goods and services. Thus, policies that enable broader usage and participation in digital ecosystems can help enhance market competition. Digitalization also provides powerful tools for automation, paperless transactions, and streamlined processes, and therefore helps reduce abuse of discretion while improving regulatory efficiency.”

Proto’s contribution to this success includes digital banking CX automation deployed with financial institutions such as GoodPay and Universal Storefront Services Corporation (USSC), helping support the Philippines’ financial inclusion strategy of bringing 70% of the nation into banking and enabling small businesses to serve mass markets at scale. In the past, such costs were historically prohibitive and limited competition to only a handful of the largest enterprises.

Inclusive and innovative finance boosts financial inclusion

Proto’s AI Citizen Experience (AICX) platform has been procured by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in the Philippines, helping grow a framework of centralised software for complying with the No Wrong Door policy.

These consumer protection chatbots can be extended to proactive messaging about scams or financial literacy advice to help achieve the Philippine government’s strategic goal to promote financial literacy and innovation: 

“The government will develop alternative platforms for financial literacy programs through the BSP, Land Bank and other government financial institutions, and other financial regulators, such as the Cooperative Development Authority, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Insurance Commission, and Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation. Private financial institutions — both banks and non-banks — can enhance the awareness campaigns on financial products and services.”

Proto enables government organisations to keep databases of consumers with historical difficulties with financial services — such segments of the population would be particularly suited to such messaging. Additionally, the solution has also established a framework for the government to achieve other related goals, such as streamlining financing for businesses and improving access to financial services. 

Paving the way forward

The Philippine governments’ development strategy reflects its understanding of the importance of digital innovation. Proto’s deployments in various public and private sector organisations in the Philippines can help support this necessary step towards advancing the economy of the country, and can serve as a promising model for other nations looking to embark on their own digitisation efforts.

To discover more about how Proto can help with your digitisation strategy, reach out to our experts today.

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