Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
The Integrated System for Investment Plan Preparation and Monitoring (ISIPPM) is the first online platform to be developed in Egypt that digitized and automated the different phases of the public investment management process: Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) appraisal and plan preparation, requests for reallocation and transfer of funds among different projects, and monitoring the financial and physical implementation rates of the investment projects across the country. It links The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MPED) with the spending agencies, in order to receive their proposals for medium and short-term development plans in light of Egypt’s Vision 2030.
The main role of the ISIPPM is:
• Linking the UN-Sustainable Development Goals and Egypt Vision 2030 objectives to the government's medium-term program (2018-2022) and all development projects implemented by the Egyptian public entities.
• Enabling all main and sub public entities to formulate their development plans and submit proposals for the plans through electronic forms to request funding that is appropriate to the nature of the different public entities.
• Establishing the main building block for the information structure of the proposed projects for all public entities, to serve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Egypt Vision 2030 objectives and performance indicators, as well as the government program (2018-2022) to facilitate the monitoring process.
• Emphasizing transparency in the selection process of projects included in the state's sustainable development plan by standardizing project appraisal criteria.
• Electronically managing the process of approving reallocations and transfers that take place at the start of the fiscal year with the start of investment project implementation. This should enable decision-makers within MPED in tracking the financial transactions taking place among different spending agencies, and between the different investment projects, in a manner that enhances the financial management and the planning process in the short term.
• Monitoring and evaluating investment process and projects.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
The ISIPPM is a clear example of enhancing the effectiveness of institutions and promoting institutional frameworks that enhance transparency and accountability as well as facilitate harmonization and collaboration in government policies. Through this online platform - when previously the public investment planning process was all paper-based - all the public entities are connected to the ministry where the allocation of funds and resources can be done in a fair and transparent manner that optimizes the return on investment and prioritizes the well-being of the Egyptian citizens.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
The ISIPPM directly supports SDGs 9,16, 17 and targets 9.c, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7, 17.9, 17.19.
Creating this digital platform where the entirety of the public investment planning process can be done through it has significantly raised the capacity of the public infrastructure compared to the previous paper-based system. Now that all the public spending entities are connected to the ministry, the government as a whole has been strengthened and solidified as clear criteria have been set and the allocation of funds and resources is now being implemented in a fair and transparent manner. All entities now cooperate on fulfilling the national goals and priorities in order to ensure the country's economic growth and to reach the global SDGs.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
This initiative has eliminated all forms of physical paper documents which not only is it a big 'go-green' push forward, it has also significantly helped in organizing and effectively monitoring all sorts of budgeting requests that come from the hundreds of public entities across the country. It has unified the country's development goals and the SDGs as its main target to achieve which made all the public entities focus on implementing pro economic growth investment projects which therefore ameliorates and secures the well-being of the Egyptian citizens.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
Before the ISIPPM, the public investment planning process was all paper-based. This meant that throughout the fiscal year more than 600 public entities would send their requests during each of the 3 phases (plan preparation, implementation and reallocation, and monitoring and evaluation), which meant thousands of documents going back and forth, making it almost impossible to monitor the process and progress for all investment projects being implemented, especially when there were yet no clear criteria and specified goals that were set that would help direct these investments towards a sustainable economic future.
ISIPPM was a breakthrough in overcoming these challenges, in addition to solidifying a credible system that leaves no room for corruption thanks to its transparency and clear criteria.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
ISIPPM was created in order the ensure a fair allocation of resources across the country each year all while aiming at reaching the SDGs. This means that it encourages investment projects that help close inequality gaps and foster a more inclusive society overall.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
ISIPPM directly targets all the public spending entities (all ministries and sub-entities and agencies) across the country. As it has gathered them all together with MPED through this online platform, now all budgeting requests get processed fairly and according to the set criteria and government direction set for each fiscal year. It has made monitoring the progress of the projects being implemented much more efficient and has allowed MPED to cater to their needs more easily.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
The journey started in early 2018 with creating the digital platform itself. ISIPPPM has 3 modules: plan preparation, investment reallocation and transfers, and monitoring and evaluation; and each module took around a year to develop, evaluate and improve, as well as to train the public entities on using each of these modules. Simultaneously, the developer team was working on integrating this system with the one of the Ministry of Finance as well as the one of the National Investment Bank (NIB) in order to be able to track all financials of the projects to be implemented.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
Some of the main challenges faced were the capacity building trainings of the public entities that use the platform due to the different levels of digital skills and retention of information. That is why MPED enabled several training programs to raise their capacity and cater to the entities' needs, in addition to uploading recorded training capsules that the entities can turn to as many times as needed. In fact, a brief quiz was made available after watching these capsules that the users have to pass before being able to access ISIPPM.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
In a country where the public system can be significantly bureaucratic and where everything is done through paper documents, creating a digital platform that eliminates this and encourages efficiency is definitely considered innovative, especially when it is a platform that is fair and transparent that aims to adequately allocate its limited resources to best serve the country's economy and people.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
ISIPPM generally drew inspiration from examples of efficient public investment planning and allocation in developed countries and international organizations.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
The initiative is highly transferrable and can definitely be adapted to other contexts. For example, there is currently a direction to develop a similar system for registering, tracking and monitoring all fixed assets across all government entities in order to optimize their use, identity gaps, eliminate redundancy and limit misuse.
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
In order to implement ISIPPM, considerable financial, technological and human resources were used in order to develop the system, allowing and training all public entities on using it, evaluating the system by gathering feedback from trainers and users and improving it, as well as for the integration with the Ministry of Finance and NIB.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
After finishing training all the entities on ground, training capsules on how to use the platform were uploaded where the users can refer to at any given time needed.
Frequent feedback is collected from the trainers that trained the entities as well as from the users themselves in order to improve the system and make it as user-friendly as possible, therefore ensuring the smoothest possible process of public investment planning.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
This is an initiative by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MPED). MPED along with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the support of the National Investment Bank (NIB) are the main governmental entities that plan and implement the public investment process each fiscal year. So this initiative can be considered as one of the biggest and most important initiatives in the country related to public investments as it serves all the public entities across the country to make efficient plans with the best possible ROI, ease the reallocation and transfer of investments, and evaluate and monitor the progress of these projects accurately. MoF and NIB are partners to MPED as ISIPPM is being integrated with both their systems in order to have one big picture from development side as well as the financial one.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
The biggest partner to MPED in designing, implementing and evaluating ISIPPM is USAID's Macro-Economic Stabilization and Reform (MESR) project and has been working on this initiative since its inception in 2018 until today, each step of the way. MESR project's team has collaborated with MPED on several different projects which is this engagement was a very easy and solid one.
In addition, as previously mentioned, MPED also works with MoF and NIB in order to integrate their systems together and create a robust, user-friendly system that ensures the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the public investment process.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Throughout this extensive process of developing and implementing the ISIPPM, several lessons were learned.
- Developing ISIPPM enabled the mapping of all the investment projects with SDGs and therefore shedding light on gaps and disparities in investments. For example, it was noted that there aren't enough projects serving SDGs 5, 14 and15. Hence, more focus gets redirected towards closing such gaps.
- The interlinkages of the SDGs were clearly noted as well as the strong impact an investment can have on serve multiple SDGs simultaneously.
- In the beginning of the implementation, the data received from the public entities was not unified regarding the level of detail and did not follow specific criteria which is why it was crucial to standardize the data needed and set clear criteria.
- The clear success of ISIPPM was a strong catalyst of the digital transformation in the government and encouraged the creation of more similar platforms that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public services in the country.