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Alumna plays a pivotal role in advancing digital communication in Mongolia

Posted: 7 March 2024

Alumni, Impact,

Battsetseg Bataa completed a Master of Commercial Law at the University of Melbourne in 2015, with the support of an Australia Awards Scholarship. As the State Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications of Mongolia, she is making a vital contribution towards connecting and empowering all Mongolians.

To mark International Women’s Day 2024, we asked Battsetseg some questions about her work and her Australia Awards experience. Her answers below highlight the important work she is doing for Mongolia’s development and the important part Australia Awards has played in her own development.

Could you briefly describe the work you are doing in your role of State Secretary and how it contributes to the development of Mongolia?

I play a crucial part in formulating and implementing policies that utilise digital technologies to propel Mongolia into a more connected, efficient and innovative era.

My responsibilities include driving the digital transformation agenda by developing policies, strategies and initiatives to support the country’s socioeconomic progress in the digital era.

Our mission is centred around leveraging digitalisation as a catalyst for comprehensive development. We are successfully overcoming Mongolia’s digital divide: we have connected 325 villages and achieved remarkable global rankings in 4G and 3G coverage. We are on track to reach international broadband targets by 2025, with a clear commitment to 5G technology evident in successful tests and ongoing implementation.

One of the Ministry’s flagship endeavours is the E-Mongolia system, designed to enhance government operations, increase citizen satisfaction, and contribute to a transparent, accountable and responsive government. This aligns with Mongolia’s broader development goals of fostering economic growth, improving public services and empowering citizens through technology.

Thanks to initiatives like E-Mongolia, Mongolia’s digital transformation has propelled us from 92nd to 74th place in the United Nations E-Government Development Index. Recognitions such as an Honorable Mention at the Open Government Awards 2023 acknowledge our dedication to e-governance and openness.

Collaboration is central to our approach. Joint efforts in the private and public sectors, including initiatives like the E-Business platform, have expedited services and reduced paperwork for thousands.

In conclusion, my role as the State Secretary is dedicated to steering Mongolia towards a digitally empowered future. We aim to contribute significantly to the socioeconomic development of Mongolia by strategically advancing the digital landscape, ensuring that the benefits of the digital age are accessible to all.

Battsetseg giving an opening speech at “Digital inclusion through SCO Empowerment” project launch in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

How has your Australia Awards Scholarship contributed to your career?

The Australia Awards Scholarship has played a pivotal role in shaping my career trajectory and ultimately leading me to my current position as the State Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications.

The Scholarship presented me with an amazing chance to further my studies in law at a top Australian university. Studying in a challenging academic atmosphere with access to cutting-edge technology and exposure to other cultures really boosted my understanding and abilities in the digital sector.

During my studies, I had the opportunity to network and connect with professionals in the area, which widened and improved my grasp of worldwide best practices in digital development. This experience has been useful in developing creative policies and tactics in Mongolia that are consistent with international norms.

Furthermore, the Scholarship’s emphasis on leadership and management abilities provided me with the tools I needed to negotiate complicated organisational hierarchies and successfully lead digital transformation programs. The practical insights obtained during the Scholarship have been essential in guiding the Ministry towards its aims of creating a digitally inclusive society and supporting open and accountable e-governance.

In essence, the Australia Awards Scholarship has been a pillar in my career development, offering the knowledge, skills and networks required for success in my present position. I am extremely appreciative for the transforming experience it has provided, which has considerably enhanced my competence as the State Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications.

Battsetseg attending “Digital inclusion through SCO Empowerment” project launch in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Do you have any current linkages with Australia in your professional life?

During my time as a student in Australia, I experienced expeditious access to government services tailored for students, courtesy of the country’s adept digitisation of administrative processes. During that period, I contemplated the remarkable convenience of obtaining government services and envisioned the prospect of similar ease and accessibility in Mongolia.

In this digital age, the public sector globally faces the pressing need to adapt and evolve through digital transformation. This transformation is not just about adopting new technologies but about rethinking old processes and models to better serve the public, enhance efficiency and ensure transparency. Government officials and employees involved in this sector play a crucial role in steering their organisations through this shift. They are tasked with navigating the complexities of integrating digital solutions into existing structures, fostering an innovative culture, and leading change to meet the dynamic needs of citizens and the expectations of a digitally savvy population.

Upon commencing my role at the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications, I initiated communication with the Embassy of Australia in Mongolia and Australia Awards – Mongolia. This outreach aimed at soliciting support to enhance the capabilities of the government officials and employees involved in this field. We are currently in the planning stages of fostering collaboration for short-term capacity-building training programs designed specifically for the government officials.

The purpose of this course is to equip government officials and those working in digital development sectors with the leadership skills required to effectively guide digital transformation efforts. Through learning from Australia’s experience in digital transformation, the course aims to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the strategies, policies and leadership behaviours that facilitate successful digital change.

On International Women’s Day this year, what would you most like to say to our readers?

In light of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Count her in: Accelerating gender equality through economic empowerment,’ my key message to fellow alumni and others is to recognise the pivotal role of economic empowerment in advancing gender equality.

The digital initiatives and policies we champion at the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications aim to create an inclusive and equitable environment, ensuring that women are not only active participants but also key beneficiaries in the digital transformation journey. By fostering equal opportunities and access to digital resources, we contribute to the economic empowerment of women, ultimately accelerating progress towards gender equality.

Let us collectively champion initiatives that uplift and empower women economically, creating a more just and inclusive society for all.