Digital Public Infrastructure#

Introduction to DPI#

Just as railroads built with public money helped society grow in the past, today's digital systems, known as Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), play a similar role in our modern world. DPI facilitates the movement of people, money, and information in the digital realm.

DPI is powerful as it spans various areas, leveraging universally accessible technology, adhering to clear and fair rules, and fostering innovation. This approach transcends technology, encompassing good governance and local environmental adaptation.

DPI enhances digital services in countries, aiding in achieving global objectives like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It enables transformative service delivery, prioritizing safety, inclusivity, and respect for individual rights and ideas. Nations including Brazil, India, and Singapore are employing DPI to realize significant advancements.

Components of DPI#

DPI integrates critical components for secure, efficient, and accessible digital services:

  • Digital Identity: Reliable online identification systems for individuals and businesses.

  • Registries: Specialized systems, such as Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and social registries, that maintain comprehensive and official records.

  • Payments: Systems for straightforward monetary transactions among people, businesses, and governments.

  • Data Exchange: Fluid data flows between government and private sector, with robust personal data protection measures.

DPI in social protection#

DPI plays a pivotal role in social protection, especially in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). It facilitates a rights-based and inclusive digital transformation by intertwining technology, governance, and local digital ecosystems. Implementing DPI in social protection schemes ensures adaptability, efficiency, and inclusivity, addressing diverse societal needs.

Real-World Examples and Impact#

India has seen transformative impacts from DPI, with digital IDs provided to over a billion people, enhancing government service accessibility. In Mauritius, DPI has led to the development of over 500 new electronic services for citizens and businesses through robust data exchange mechanisms.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and DPI#

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DPI was invaluable in scaling social assistance rapidly. Countries with established digital infrastructures, like digital IDs and payment systems, effectively expanded social assistance, including to previously uncovered populations. This underscored DPI's role in agile crisis response and its potential in future social protection strategies (World Bank).

Open Source#

DPI often relies on open-source technologies, making its code available for public use, adaptation, and improvement. This fosters flexibility and customization for diverse social protection programs. Note that, like proprietary solutions, open-source technologies may require local adaptations.

Architecture of DPI Technology#


Interoperability in DPI, particularly in social protection systems, enables efficient data exchange across diverse platforms. beneficiaries can receive cash transfers through preferred channels, be it mobile money or a bank.


  • Adoption of open standards and specifications for various payment methods.

  • Utilization of universally recognized protocols for financial transactions.

Modularity and Extensibility#

Systems designed with extensibility adapt to changing needs using modular components, integrating into various systems to introduce new functionalities.


  • Standardized, flexible data collection formats.

  • Development of minimalist, modular components.

Scalability for Innovation and Inclusion#

Scalable systems extend digital solution access to diverse service providers and users, fostering innovation.


  • Implementation of open APIs.

  • Use of digital signatures and QR codes for streamlined operations.

  • Creation of reusable software development kits.


A federated data architecture mitigates risks associated with centralized databases.


  • Deployment of federated database systems.

  • Digitization and integration of existing registries.

  • Development of wrapper APIs for registry interconnections.

Security and Privacy#

A zero-trust architecture is essential to protect users from digital threats and vulnerabilities.


  • Tokenization and data masking techniques.

  • End-to-end data encryption.

  • Granular electronic consent mechanisms.

  • Digital signatures for authentication and data integrity.

OpenSPP and DPI#

OpenSPP Overview#

OpenSPP is an open-source, scalable, and modular digital social protection information system with high interoperability. It includes essential building blocks for program implementation and delivery. The OpenSPP team contributes to standards in social protection, collaborating with G2P-Connect and the Social Protection Digital Convergence Initiative, aligning with global best practices.

Alignment with DPIs#

OpenSPP offers diverse DPI building blocks like Social, Farmer, and Disability Registries, and Scheme Management, enabling comprehensive data management and service delivery.

It integrates with Civil registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems for accurate beneficiary data and national identity systems for secure verification and authentication. OpenSPP's link with digital payment systems facilitates efficient benefit disbursement, ensuring timely support and reduced operational complexities. The team's involvement in G2P-Connect and Social Protection Digital Convergence Initiatives ensures robust, secure, and user-centric integrations.