Human hands with mosaic in workshop
Human hands with mosaic in workshop

How can collaboration fulfill the digital public goods ambition?

Digital public goods could transform society, but success lies in the hands of governments, the private sector and communities.

In brief

  • As free, open-source software, digital public goods open new opportunities to accelerate digital and societal transformation.
  • Realizing the full potential of digital public goods will require government, the private sector and communities to work together.
  • System integrators have a key role to play and stand to benefit significantly from the estimated annual US$100b DPG market.

Digital transformation is the greatest business and societal revolution of the 21st century. It is radically evolving how we live, driving economic growth and reshaping how society functions. In sectors like Finance, Technology and Consumer, it is well advanced. However, governments have been slower to adopt technologies that can transform their service delivery. If they are going to meet the growing expectations of their citizens, deliver value and stay competitive, governments must build the public sector digital infrastructure that’s fit for our time.

By working with organizations that have designed, developed and rolled out DPGs, and collaborating closely with the Digital Public Goods Alliance and Co-Develop, EY teams have witnessed the positive impact of DPGs on society. We believe DPGs have the potential to truly expedite digital transformation and improve outcomes for people around the world.

As open-source software, DPGs are freely available for all governments, and others, to use, customize and adapt for their own digital public infrastructure. They can be tailored to enhance the delivery of services across the public sector – in areas such as health, education, social services and payments. What is more, the potential of DPGs extends far beyond the digitalization of public services. It is a huge economic and societal opportunity. However, realizing the opportunity will require collaboration between governments, the private sector and wider communities. In particular, it requires the involvement of system integrators, that is, organizations that implement and maintain IT systems. They stand to benefit greatly from the commercial opportunity within the DPG market.

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EY teams have outlined the benefits of DPGs

and sized the commercial market.

It is clear that governments are waking up to the opportunities that DPGs offer. 

Digital public goods deployed/developed by country

Source: DPGA, March 2023

Between February 2022 and March 2023, the number of DPGs registered on the Digital Public Goods Alliance’s DPG register rose from 87 to 142. That number is expected to grow at an even faster rate as DPGs gain momentum. 

DPGs registered with the DPGA
In February 2022
In March 2023

This can be attributed to a number of drivers. First, governments are realizing that DPGs are a cost-effective and efficient way of enabling digital transformation. Second, they have seen the positive impact of DPGs, either for themselves or in other nations. A third is the drive to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which DPGs can expedite greatly.

Here is a selection of DPG examples that are changing lives:

  • DHSIS2 — Most commonly used as a health management information system (HMIS), DHSIS2 is the world’s largest HMIS platform, used by 76 low- and middle-income countries - supporting approximately 3.2 billion people.
  • Mojaloop — Enabling various digital financial service providers (DFSPs) to link up with each other, Mojaloop’s goal is to address the digital financial needs of 1.7 billion unbanked people across the world in an accelerated, cost-effective and simple way. Mojaloop has been deployed in Tanzania and Uganda, and pilots are being conducted in many other countries.
  • Singpass — A digital identity authentication system used in Singapore to provide residents with access to a variety of government services online, Singpass has created new opportunities for innovation and economic growth by establishing foundational national digital identity. Citizens can access a wide range of online government services, such as filing taxes, renewing passports and applying for housing grants. As of March 2022, Singpass was used by 97% of Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 15 and above.

These and many other examples show that DPGs can deliver real change, and they have the power to improve lives around the world. But to truly realize the benefits, governments need to move faster, and for this, many stakeholders need to work together. Not least, there needs to be greater involvement from system integrators who can benefit greatly from the commercial opportunity.

Woman walking over hexagonal tiled floor in the streets of Valencia, Spain

Chapter 1

Commercial opportunity for DPGs

The DPG market is a huge opportunity, particularly for system integrators

The DPG market is still young but growing fast. To understand the commercial opportunity for private sector players, such as system integrators (SIs), EY teams undertook research to size the DPG market. As EY estimates show, the annual DPG market will be US$100b by 2030, with the potential to grow beyond that in following years. This creates a sizeable and exciting market for many players to participate in, and benefit from financially, in roles across the creation, evolution, implementation, infrastructure provision, integration and sustenance of DPGs.

DPG market size
The annual estimated size for the DPG market by 2030

We believe SIs are particularly well placed to benefit from this fast-growing marketplace. Although DPGs are free, their implementation and adoption are not. There are key roles for SIs to play in customizing and localizing DPGs, as well as sustaining them by maintaining, upgrading and troubleshooting. DPGs may also require last-mile connectivity to reach consumers, as well local training requirements, the need to set up support communities, integration with existing government systems, institutionalization and more. And this is before we consider the adoption of a DPG by other governments or entities. SIs, with their experience of large-scale implementations, are uniquely suited to deal with these challenges.

As a result, the DPG market is likely to represent a long-term revenue stream for an SI that seizes the opportunity to collaborate and support the DPG movement.  It also provides SIs with a chance to do real global good. 

close-up of hand holding multi colored straws

Chapter 2

The impact of DPGs today and tomorrow

DPGs are already delivering value, but their real potential is yet to be fully realized. The time to seize this opportunity is now.

The benefits of DPGs are clear. They can deliver on many levels:

  • Scalability – once in place, they can easily be rolled out across populations
  • Flexibility – they are quick to adapt and deploy with relative ease
  • Applicability – they can support governments across all income levels, from the wealthiest countries to the poorest
  • Cost-effectiveness – they are good value for money. The total cost for large countries (populations over 50 million) is estimated to be between US$0.24 and US$0.74 per head.

We can already see the considerable real-world impact that DPGs are having in early-adopter countries. In India, for example, their use of the MOSIP DPG as part of the government’s Aadhaar program provided 1.3 billion people with a digital ID. This, in turn, allowed many unbanked to open bank accounts. According to a 2019 report by the Bank of International Settlements, it would have taken 47 years for 80% of adults to get a bank account if India had solely relied on traditional growth processes.

In Norway, a flagship DPG education initiative called the Global Digital Library has been developed to provide children worldwide with access to quality learning resources and books in their native languages. The Digital Public Goods Ecosystem 2022 report states that, in 2022, the Global Digital Library had 8,500 learning resources available in 100 languages and had reached 3.5 million users. 

Global Digital Library
The number of users who now have access to 8,500 learning resources in 100 languages

DPGs have already provided opportunities for innovation, collaboration and investment in our collective future. They are increasingly seen as enablers for countries wanting to build safe, trusted and inclusive digital public infrastructure and to work toward the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals. Recognition of their potential is growing fast. But to truly deliver on their promise, more must be done.

Despite the clear advantages and benefits that DPGs offer, there is still work to do to raise their profile and meet the DPG ambition of accelerating digital transformation around the world, improving lives everywhere, and getting closer to achieving the SDGs.

We are now at a crucial point. As global digital cooperation accelerates and more countries seek to build digital public infrastructure, there is a real chance to align investments, share technology and implementation insights, and learn from the pioneering countries that have already championed the use of DPGs. It is a huge opportunity for everyone — from SIs to governments of both the richest and poorest countries.

DPGs could genuinely change the way the world works, deliver enormous economic and social value, and create a vibrant new public-private sector.

But collaboration and cooperation are key. Everyone needs to work together and seize this opportunity now to truly realize the possibilities DPGs offer.


Digital public goods have the potential to accelerate digital transformation and deliver social and economic value. But realizing the opportunity requires the collaboration of governments, the private sector and communities. It’s time to seize the moment.