The UNESCO Broadband Commission Working Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capacity Building recently published the report “Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation” assessing the critical capacity needs for public sector digital transformation. This report presents three competency domains and nine recommendations with an accompanying competency framework for civil servants laying out the AI and digital transformation competencies needed today. This report comes as the world is at the edge of digital transformation yet almost half of 198 countries do not have a digital skills development and improvement strategy. The lack of such strategies hampers efficient digital transformation and investment in the development of digital skills in the public sector.
AI technology is at the core of some of the most important socioeconomic challenges and opportunities of this century and governments must determine how they can equip themselves with the required competencies to adapt their national visions, missions, and strategies in the digital age. This adaptation to the digital age does not require civil servants to become technical experts but rather they must understand new technology trends and the societal implications of these technologies. As such, three competency domains are relevant for civil servants to be ready for digital transformation: digital planning and design, data use and governance, digital management and execution. These competency domains encompass competencies such as data-driven policy making and digital strategy development.