A digital ecosystem comprises stakeholders, systems, and an enabling environment that together empower people and communities to use digital technology to access services, engage with each other, and pursue economic opportunities.
The elements of a digital ecosystem fall into three categories:
Infrastructure, access, and use: Encompasses physical infrastructure and end-user devices, as well as considerations around digital literacy, equitable access, and private-sector adoption.
Digital rights and governance: The laws governing the digital space (e.g., privacy, cybersecurity, intellectual property) and the digital interactions between government, media and civil society.
Digital economy: Digital channels for the delivery of financial services, e-commerce, and trade in digital goods and services.
The USAID Digital Strategy highlights the importance of adopting an ecosystem approach to development in a digital age. To better understand and respond to risks in a country’s digital ecosystem, USAID created the Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA).
The DECA is a tool that will identify development opportunities and risks in a country’s digital ecosystem. It will inform decision-making about digital programming and investments for USAID and partner governments, donors, the private sector, and civil society.
The DECA looks at six critical areas to understand opportunities and challenges in a country’s ecosystem. Emerging patterns and themes from desk research, together with USAID Mission and partner country digital priorities, will be used to guide the ecosystem assessments in each country.
About USAID's Center for Digital Development
The rapid development and adoption of digital technology are transforming industries, governments, economies, and societies. Digital ecosystems hold immense potential to help people live more free and prosperous lives. At the same time, digital transformation comes with the risk of increasing inequality, repression, and instability. Together with our partners, USAID works to end the need for foreign assistance through digitally supported programming that fosters partner countries’ self-reliance and maximizes the benefits, while managing the risks, that digital technology introduces into the lives of the communities we serve. To learn more about our work, follow us on Twitterand sign up for our newsletter.