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Government ministries, agencies or municipal offices lacking websites or filled with outdated or misleading information, top state officials communicating with Yahoo/hotmail emails, and relying on internet cafés for electronic communication, 15 or 20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

Kenya, Uganda collaborate on electronic cargo tracking

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Uganda Revenue Authority have signed an MOU on the establishment of an Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS). Read More

Cashless Africa 'achievable through partnerships'

Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard met with Norbet Mumba, Deputy Executive Director, AFI The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) renewed its partnership with MasterCard at the African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) meeting held in Dakar, Senegal this week.  Read More

ICT CS launches free Internet for Schools programme in Machakos County

Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has lauded Airtel for its commitment to support e-learning in Schools by providing free internet connections to schools in Kenya through the company’s Free Internet for Schools programme.      Read More

BITC launches online trade portal

As part of efforts to improve trade facilitation, the Botswana government, through the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), has launched a web-based platform designed to help improve the ease of doing business. Read More

Ghana MPs struggle with digitised chamber

Ghana’s parliament almost came to a standstill earlier this week, when members of parliament battled to make use of new digitised desks installed in the chamber. Read More

Over 10,000 applications for BTCL shares

Batswana have come out in record numbers to submit their Offers for BTCL shares, with around 1,000 applications per day at Barclays Bank branches across Botswana. Read More

KRA announces key Customs reforms

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has announced a variety of reform measures geared at enhancing national security and efficiency in Customs management. Read More

N780b fine: MTN opts for out-of-court-settlement with NCC

MTN Nigeria has asked for an out-of-court settlement in the suit it filed against the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC). Read More

MTN fine hearing adjourned

The court hearing on the fine imposed by Nigeria’s NCC against MTN has been adjourned to March. Read More

Nigerian ComTech minister, stakeholders hold communications retreat

Nigerian ICT stakeholders are set for Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, this weekend to attend the 2016 Communications Sector Retreat. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks Unlimited

FEATURED STORY

Viber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats Viber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats

Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East. 

IN DEPTH

Poised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year WinnerPoised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year Winner

Roshi Motman is not your average CEO. Since taking up the reins as the first female CEO of Tigo Ghana in 2014, she has led the Tigo brand through a remarkable transformation.