Taking on the Social, Economic and Political Divide Digitally
By admin August 10, 2016

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(Source: Jonathan Kalan, UN Photo)

A new UN report found that e-government is an effective tool for facilitating integrated policies and public services. E-government is define as the “use of information and communication technologies to offer citizens and businesses the opportunity to interact and conduct business with government by using different electronic media, including telephone touchpad, fax, smart cards, self-service kiosks, e-mail/ Internet and EDU”.

Government can use it as means to regulate and implement new policy, disseminate and collect information. For instance, Macedonia has used e-government to fight fraud in the transportation and logistics sector by cross-checking trucking license applications against multiple databases, making it hard for a single agency to falsify information. This has led to increased confidence in Macedonian truck owners to update their fleets by the hundreds, thereby strengthening the country’s economy and infrastructure. It promotes accountability and transparency in institutions, including open data and participatory decision-making. E-government is also an efficient and effective service for public institutions to meet citizen demand. It is fundamental to countries that are still developing as it raises service performance and eliminates bottlenecks in the service delivery process.

The E-Government Development Index (EGDI) used is to measure a country’s use of information and communication technology (ICTs), taking into consideration three dimensions: the scope and quality of online services, the status of telecommunication infrastructure, and the existing human capacity. Africa scored an average of 0.2882 while European countries averaged about 2.5 times higher.  The top three e-government performers were the United Kington, Australia and the Republic of Korea. The worst performing region was Africa, with Mauritius as the top performer – however ranking 58th among 193 countries. ICTs can transform the public sector for sustainable development, but there needs to be equity in accessing these services.

In all regions, ICTs are increasingly used to deliver services and engage people in public service processes to decrease inequity. However, disparities among and within regions exist as a result of lack of access to technology, poverty and social inequity. Both demand and supply side barriers stand in the way of successful e-government systems. For instance, a low rate of literacy, undeveloped ICT infrastructure, and a lack of commitment of governments to genuine transformation towards more transparent governance are major restrictions to e-government adoption. Alongside addressing barriers, government should be encouraging participatory attitudes. After all, ICTs are only catalysts to change and cannot change democratic or social capacities of the people immediately.

In the future, the report will need to be accompanied by measures to ensure access and availability of ICTs and make governments responsible for equitable access. Increased monitoring and evaluation are also needed to make e-government effective. For Africa, e-government would stimulate an Africa-adapted cyber culture, increase ICT literacy and encourage ICT for sustainable development across all sectors, including the mass utilization of e-agriculture, e-commerce, e-education, and e-health. This has important socioeconomic implications, not only creating social, economic and political equity, but perpetuating and sustaining it.

For more information:

E-government a powerful tool to implement global sustainability goals, UN survey finds

E-government in Africa: prospects, challenges and practices

Africa grapples with e-government technology

Fighting corruption through e-government

E-government in Africa: An Overview of Progress Made and Challenges Ahead



Thanks for sharing !

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