Africa’s inconclusive e-government systems ‘block service delivery’

GOVERNMENT

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Africa’s inconclusive e-government systems ‘block service delivery’

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Dakar, Senegal

Government ministries, agencies or municipal offices lacking websites or filled with outdated or misleading information, top state officials communicating with Yahoo/hotmail emails, and relying on internet cafés for electronic communication, 15 or 20 workers all using one slow, old-fashioned computer, for information processing, among others.

That is, among others, basically the state of e-government in most African countries, as documented by Biztechafrica and other independent studies.

“There is no sense of urgency from many African governments to develop e-government and take full advantage of its countless opportunities. And that hampers service delivery,” an IT consultant who has worked on many e-government projects across Africa, told Biztechafrica on condition of anonymity.

“The concept of e-government is not yet firmly entrenched on many African governments’ agendas, and there are those who are doing it just for the sake of doing, or because it’s a new trend in the current fast-changing world.

“You know who the biggest loser is in all of this mess, is the people. We found some unbelievable stuff in these countries that shows a total lack of commitment by the leadership. And you wonder what are these guys really thinking? For me, the main reason for not investing and flexing their muscles on e-government is to stifle transparency and accountability because with e-government everything is under the spotlight.”

He added: “Putting government information online is very critical because it helps promote a well-informed society and enhance democracy. Interacting with people online will help them to know what to do, where to go and where to talk to in order to get things done, fast. And that increases government’s efficiency.

“It also improves decision-making and resource allocation,” the source said.

Yayehyirad Kitaw, an African expert and researcher who documented Africa’s few initiatives on e-government, said despite some progress made in a few countries, the opportunities offered by these new technologies remain largely unexploited.

Kitaw has identified the following major barriers to the success of e-government in Africa:

·  low rate of literacy

·  underdeveloped telecommunication infrastructure

·  lack of commitment of governments to genuine transformation towards a more transparent and citizen-centred governance

According to Brendan Eze Asogwa, of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, electronic government makes government processes more accountable, responsive and transparent.

“It improves governance and the quality of life of citizens and offers a number of compelling benefits such as better quality government services, increased citizenship satisfaction, higher efficiency, reduced costs, and lowers processing time.”

Asogwa’s findings on his study on the state of e-government readiness in Africa shows that a few countries had already a web presence as far back as 2005, and that 12 African countries were the best in e-government in 2005, 2008 and 2010.

· In 2005, Mauritius, South Africa, and Morocco (100%) were the best, followed by Egypt (100%), Botswana (100%), Seychelles, Swaziland, Mozambique, Senegal, Algeria, Lesotho and Benin.

· In 2008, these countries were still the best, though their scores were abysmally lower. In 2010 Egypt, Lesotho, and Mauritius were the best online service countries for Africa.

Like Kitaw, Assegwa also identified, among others, the reasons of the lack, or low levels, of web presence in many government spheres in Africa:

·  Inequality in the distribution of ICTs between the developed countries and Africa

·  Income access divide, low literacy rate and lack of technical skills to using ICTs 

·  Lack of effective up-to-date assistive technologies

·  Weak ICT policies in many African countries

·  Political instability

 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

SAP innovation transforms how Governments conduct business

SAP Africa kicked off its public sector innovation roadshow in Johannesburg, to highlight how the SAP innovation solutions portfolio including, cloud and big data, supports all levels of government. Read More

ATCON roots for spectrum market

NCC board chair Peter Igho, Commisisoner  Mrs Biodun Olujimi, and ATCON chief Lanre Ajayi ATCON has urged the Nigerian Communications Commission to enable the creation of a “spectrum market” where the scarce airwaves could be bought and sold. Read More

MACRA cautioned as court okays ‘Spy Machine’

Three days after the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre ruled that Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) can roll out the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) which is popularly known as ‘the Spy Machine’, the country's consumer rights body has cautioned the regulator on the use of the ... Read More

Fake NIN enrolment agents on prowl, warns NIMC

Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has raised the alarm over reports making the rounds that eligible applicants must pay certain sums of money before they could enroll for the National Identification Number (NIN). Read More

ICT-enabled census to make a difference in DRC

MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani, Wikimedia DRC’s first census in 30 years will be supported by ICTs to ensure a fast and faultless process. Read More

NCS tasks govt on R&D funding

The Nigeria Computer Society has urged the Federal Government to increase funding of R&D. Read More

Policy Interventions can eliminate operational barriers - Mascom

Mascom Marketing and Public Relations Executive Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego says the creation of an enabling legislature and policy interventions can help Botswana overcome its ICT obstacles. Read More

DRC Police to launch digital call centre

In October this year, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will launch a digital call centre equipped with computers, fast internet and other latest technology tools to enable the police to respond timely and effectively to any kind of distress calls by the people. Read More

Angola Online free internet project launched in Luanda

Angola’s Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, in partnership with the National Center for Information Technology, has officially launched the digital project "Angola Online", which aims to roll out internet access to five million Angolans by 2017. Read More

NIG President speaks his mind

Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

MFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmersMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers

Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures. 

IN DEPTH

NIG President speaks his mindNIG President speaks his mind

Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports.

COMPANY NEWS

SAP innovation transforms how Governments conduct business

SAP Africa kicked off its public sector innovation roadshow in Johannesburg, to highlight how the SAP innovation solutions portfolio including, cloud and big data, supports all levels ...