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Government ministries, agencies or municipal offices lacking websites or filled with outdated or misleading information, top state officials communicating with Yahoo/hotmail emails, and relying on internet cafés for electronic communication, 15 or 20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

Harnessing support for Government to leverage Open Source

Free Open Source Software (FOSS) has huge potential to be an enabler for effective service delivery, says T-Systems. Read More

Rwanda to fast-track cashless society

The Government of Rwanda has moved to accelerate its plans to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy. Read More

Senegal moves to protect citizens’ personal data

Senegal has launched a major public consultation exercise to seek practical and operational solutions to protect its citizens’ personal information, and promote the development of the digital economy. Read More

Rwanda re-elected member of ITU Council

Rwanda has been re-elected a member state of the Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for 2014-2018.  Read More

Tanzania’s 2014-2025 energy reform roadmap to success

Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals has published an Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap for 2014 to 2025. Read More

ICT put to good use in Botswana elections

Botswana voters went to the polls today in an election that that been characterised by innovative ICT use. Read More

Presidential candidates say no to BTCL privatisation

Former Malawian president Joyce Banda graced the live Gabz FM Botswana presidential candidates debates at Westwood primary school, where the two presidential candidates present say the BTCL IPO is in vain.  Read More

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT addresses ITU Plenipotentiary Conference

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, today addressed the 19th International Telecommunication Union plenipotentiary conference in South Korea. Read More

UNDP donates ICT equipment for DRC elections

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has donated ICT equipment to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the electoral process in this war-hit Central African nation. Read More

Ghana govt to appoint interconnect clearing house

Ghana’s Minister of Communication has hinted at the government’s intention of appointing a company to take charge of the country’s interconnect clearing house by the end of this year.   Read More

PRESS OFFICES

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

FEATURED STORY

Growing African focus on data securityGrowing African focus on data security

Beachhead Solutions’ new SA and Mauritius country manager explains the challenges and solutions around securing customer data and compliance with new personal information legislation.

IN DEPTH

Africa lags on digital migration Africa lags on digital migration

Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.  

COMPANY NEWS

SAP accelerates shift to the Cloud with 41% revenue growth in third quarter

SAP has once again raised its revenue outlook, reporting broad market adoption of SAP HANA and its ‘Run Simple’ strategy validated.