The digital transformation of the society is a very important topic. Resistance to change must be worked on, institutions should implement digital processes on a daily basis. Everyone in the society should have the necessary skills to use the services that the institutions (will) offer. These are the main conclusions of the speakers at the opening of the international conference “Digital Transformation for Citizens”, which is being held today and tomorrow at the “Marriott” Hotel in Skopje.

The event was opened by Slavica Grkovska, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Good Governance Policies, Azir Aliu, Minister of Information Society and Administration, as well as Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation.

Grkovska congratulated the Metamorphosis Foundation because, as she said, it manages to keep the attention on the importance of this issue and emphasizes the importance of the digitalization topics.

Slavica Grkovska, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Good Governance Policies and Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation | Photo:

“Digital transformation is a social process, not a political one. It is important that all participants who have a serious role in the complete transformation of our society into a digital society, are aware of the obligations they have. If we want to be more efficient, we must keep pace with the more developed countries”, said Grkovska.

She said that Macedonia was the leader for digitalization of processes in the region, but unfortunately, for a certain period we were overtaken by other countries, especially when it comes to the basic tool – the electronic ID card and the Law on Archiving.


“My cabinet has been particularly focused on these issues throughout the past year. We are in an advanced phase. We have already developed the plan which was accepted by the Government and the concept that we are developing in detail with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of the US Embassy and the Estonian experts”, informed the Deputy Prime Minister.

As she pointed out, digital transformation is not a matter of choice, rather a matter of survival and development in new conditions.

“The transformation will bring radical improvements. The use of digital technologies leads to a better quality of life and reduction of corruption. The process will make it possible to change the mindset of the way we work, it will make us aware that the institutions exist for the citizens and this is a process that will inevitably happen”, concluded Grkovska.

Optimization of processes in the institutions

In his address to the audience, Azir Aliu, Minister of Information Society and Administration, emphasized that digitalization is the present and the future, referring to the reforms and progress of North Macedonia in this regard.

“The faster the countries digitalize their public services, the better and easier the citizens will obtain such services. In this way, corruption is also being reduced”, said the Minister.

Mila Josifovska Danilovska from the Metamorphosis Foundation and Azir Aliu, Minister of Information Society and Administration | Photo:

Aliu reminded that there are several strategies, and one of them is the National Strategy for Computer Development, which will be ready for implementation in three weeks.

“We also have a strategy for cyber security, which should protect the citizens. There are forms for the provision of information to the citizens, who will know how to deal with digital procedures. As a user, if I do not know how to protect myself from cyber-attacks, then everything is worthless. The institutions need to be more open to cooperation, to have interoperability. It is the mentality that we need to change”, said Aliu.

Putting the citizen first in the process of digital transformation

Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, indicated in his presentation that the Metamorphosis Foundation always puts the citizens first in any activity aimed at introducing digital transformation of processes.

Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation | Photo:

“We are facing the same challenges we faced a few years ago. As a society, we could not keep up with that speed of development. We also have matters that we inherited 10-20 years ago. All this requires more dedicated work, it requires cooperation between the Government, the businesses and the civil sector. It is the only way to cope with the challenges”, said Jashari.

With this project, he clarified, it was noted that the main challenge is cyber security not only as technology, but also as standards and protocols.

“The other challenge is the digital divide in terms of skills. Everyone in the society should have the necessary skills to use the services offered by the Government. Another challenge is resistance to change. Here, I refer to the multi-level resistance. First of all, we have the fear of change, which is sometimes based on the fear that artificial intelligence will take over our jobs, but also the resistance of institutions to integrate new technologies”, added Jashari.

Without an inclusive approach, we cannot hope that the digital transformation will bring the useful things, he emphasized.

“We cannot just implement the technology. This requires very thorough planning, acceptance of change and collaboration, capacity building. As a foundation, we always consider human rights and human dignity. Being aware of the privacy, educating citizens is an activity we can do together in order to reduce challenges and protect our personal data. This is a complex process, especially the resistance to change, but if we cooperate with the partners in the region, if we talk about this, we hope that this is the only way to join the rest of Europe already using the positive things deriving from the digital transformation”, concluded Jashari.

Estonian civil organizations offer public services

Kristina Mänd, Senior Expert on e-Democracy at the e-Governance Academy in Estonia, spoke in a video address about the role of civil society organizations in the formation of politics and electronic services.

“Working with civil society organizations means that the decisions made will be more socially inclusive. In Estonia, we now want to legalize marriage for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. If citizens become more involved in the decision-making process, they will make decisions in favour of their needs. In Estonia, civil society organizations can offer public services. For example, when filing a tax return, an individual can donate the refund to an NGO that raises money for charity. That’s useful, if you have a tax refund, you can donate it right away. We have e-services related to healthcare, i.e. electronic appointment of a medical examination, issuance of an electronic prescription”, said Mand.

The conference is organized in a hybrid format. Some of the participants physically attend the event, and the rest follow the sessions online, through the Zoom platform and Facebook Live. The conference is organized within the project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA”, co-financed by the European Union. The goal is to increase the engagement of the citizens in the creation of the digital agenda.

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