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Digitalising Brazil by Danish example

19.02.2018  16:49
Digitalisation can be a tool against corruption and lack of transparency in Brazil. Denmark has been chosen as a pioneering country for Brazilian officials.


Brazil’s lack of digitalisation in the public sector is hampering efficiency, impeding the fight against corruption, curbing public services and overburdening the public sector. A Strategic Sector Cooperation project between the Danish Business Authority and Brazilian authorities will digitalise the country’s public sector, for the benefit of both citizens and companies.

“The project aims to help Brazilians with some of the challenges they face in the public sector. The goal is to improve regulation and digitalisation in this area,” explains Torsten Andersen, Deputy Director at the Danish Business Authority.

Digitalising against corruption and bureaucracy

Digitalisation can help combat corruption and ensure greater transparency in the Brazilian system, as digital accounting and log files make it harder to cover up fraud of public sector funds.

Corruption does not only occur in the public sector. Widespread corporate corruption also makes it difficult to conduct business. The hope is that the newly established collaboration can help remedy some of these problems, in turn benefiting Danish companies.

Denmark as a role model

In recent years, Brazil has sent several delegations to Denmark that all returned with strategies for digitalisation initiatives in Brazil. They looked at everything from the public services portals and to the Danish municipalities’ joint municipal service platform. These are all areas where Denmark has been a first mover. Consequently, it would be beneficial for Brazil to learn from the successes and failures that have followed the development of this unique IT infrastructure. Digitalisation is also an opportunity to look at work practices and how to make them more efficient.

Furthermore, Denmark can help simplify legislation and reduce bureaucratic workloads, something that the Danish Business Authority has great experience with. The project will provide the Brazilian authorities with concrete tools to review existing legislation as well as tools for simplifying and improving administrative procedures and communication to both citizens and companies.

“We must make it easier to run a business in Brazil. It benefits both countries when Brazilians come to Denmark on study trips and get inspired by Danish digital solutions that ease the workload for businesses, such as VIRK.DK and the Danish Business Forum,” says Torsten Andersen.

“Denmark has received a great deal of praise for its efforts in this area, and is one of the easiest countries in the world to operate a business in. We would like to pass this expertise on to Brazil,” explains Gustav Christoffer Jensen, Growth Advisor at the Danish Embassy in Brasilia.

The Danish Patent and Trademark Office is also a collaborative partner in the project. It has established contact with the Brazilian patent office (INPI) and will help streamline their processes, harmonise legislation etc. “We are aware that many Danish companies have problems obtaining patents particularly in Brazil,” says Michael Poulsen, Head of Section for International Projects at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office. After having visited Brazil in September, he is convinced of the potential gain from a collaboration between the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and INPI.

“Danish ‘best practice’ will be useful for the Brazilians in their efforts to raise the bar in this area, which will hopefully make it easier to protect basic rights in Brazil and contribute towards attracting more investment in the country. Furthermore, the knowledge of the Brazilian system that the Danish patent office has acquired will prove useful for the knowledge-intensive Danish companies operating in this region,” elaborates Michael Poulsen.

Danish start-up aid for public sector innovation

Thinking along new lines also demands a new mindset. Consequently, in collaboration with Denmark, Brazil has opened a policy lab that cooperates daily with the Danish innovation institute, MindLab. The policy lab, which is located in Brasilia, analyses and develops new methods for policy development.

“We quickly realised that a ‘policy lab’ for new ways of thinking would be a good solution for Brazil. If you have to digitalise a work process, it is not particularly smart to simply apply it to the existing work process. Before you make something digital, you should look at whether the work practices function properly, or whether they need to be redesigned. The Brazilian policy lab is the driving force behind the digitalisation initiatives that we strive to implement,” explains Gustav Christoffer Jensen.

“The dream is that our policy lab will be self-supporting in a couple of years, so the Brazilians can facilitate it by themselves and be able to identify problems and their causes as well as solve them. In the early stages, we must be ready to act as support,” explains Gustav Christoffer Jensen.

Moving forward, the project will explore further opportunities for launching activities with an even greater focus on business and export. This will pave the way for less bureaucracy and corruption in Brazil, for the benefit of the country’s residents as well as Danish companies looking to enter the Brazilian market.


Cagdas Citirikkaya:

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