e-Government initiatives ‘lack comprehensive strategic approach’
GOVERNMENT| Oct. 22, 2012, 8:08 a.m.
Considerable room for improvement exists in the way governments interact with their citizens in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, according to recent analysis by IDC Government Insights.
Drawing on its Smart Government Maturity Model, IDC assessed the progress of the region's governments in terms of fostering greater citizen participation in the business of government, increasing intra-government collaboration, and providing greater transparency.
As highlighted by the model, the key failing among MEA governments is the lack of coherent and unified IT strategies, with projects often undertaken in silos. "Within the MEA region, the efficacy of government electronic service delivery initiatives is uneven," says Mukesh Chulani, research manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey at IDC Government Insights.
"National IT strategies are non-existent in some countries, or where they do exist they only loosely link organizations with somewhat related mandates. With the absence of a clear roadmap that straddles all government agencies, individual departments tend to move at their own pace, driven by the initiative and vision of their respective leaders. While this results in some one-off successes, it does not help chart a course towards delivering optimal citizen services."
The region is well represented when it comes to such one-off successes. In terms of citizen participation, Qatar's General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority uses both Twitter and Facebook to engage with the public it serves, while the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Greater Municipality of Istanbul utilize mobile applications to support and enhance dialogue with their end users.
In terms of information transparency, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority's online database puts device-recall information at the public's fingertips. But while these individual agencies may be taking the initiative to move towards Smart Government, there is a distinct need within the region for a larger, more overarching vision that unites such agencies under one common goal.
"Governments within the MEA region are generally still playing catch-up in terms of their overall levels of automation compared to more developed economies, so they have the opportunity to leapfrog more mature nations when it comes to architecting citizen-centered services," says Chulani. "Savvy IT decision makers across the region should step up now to evangelize the need to introduce smarter services to citizens, encourage the harnessing of shared resources, interact with citizens to evaluate their requirements, and create the strategic frameworks required to integrate these solutions across areas that meet specific public policy goals and department mandates."
IDC Government Insights believes that as MEA government enterprises embrace new application frameworks and make business processes transparent, there will be a greater focus on the use, management, and availability of information to provide greater visibility of government processes to all stakeholders. But the number-one priority for all governments across the region at this juncture is to conduct an analysis of the key areas in which electronic services can make a positive and notable difference.
Only then can they leverage technology to increase government accountability, responsiveness, and transparency through the stages to achieving a Smart Government status, says IDC.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
NCA cushions consumers from future interconnection hikesThe Ghana National Communication Authority (NCA) has revealed that in order to safeguard consumers from interconnection price hikes, it has enforced that operators maintain their current rates from now until January 2018 in spite of operations of the Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) in Ghana. Read More
Microsoft, Johannesburg to train a million on digital literacyJohannesburg, South Africa, has become the first African city to close a workforce development deal of to train a million disadvantaged residents on digital literacy skills that include Microsoft Office. Read More
NITDA’s Taraba Smart City project receives global recognitionThe Jalingo City’s Smart IDP Tracking and Monitoring project, designed and implemented under the NITDA Nigeria Smart City Initiative, has won global recognition. Read More
NCA Chairman calls for strong ties between Africa’s telecom regulatorsThe Chairman of Ghana’s National Communications Authority, Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, has emphasised the need for regulatory bodies in the African telecommunications industry to close ranks to ensure a stronger collaborations. Read More
Cybercrooks steal N127b annually in Nigeria, says ComTech ministerNigeria’s ComTech Minister, Barr Adebayo Shittu, has lamented that Nigeria loses N127 billion annually to cyber thieves, warning that if it is not addressed, it posed a great deal of threat to the national economy. Read More
Nigeria's ComTech minister restates need for ICT UniversityNigeria’s Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has restated the need for the establishment of an ICT University in Nigeria, the first of its kind in Africa. Read More
Nigeria tax chief to go after telcos, othersThe Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Tunde Fowler, has said the focus of the service this quarter, was to recoup taxes owed by telecoms firms, airlines, and deposit money banks (DMBs). Read More
NCA to mark 20th anniversary with Symposium on RegulationsGhana’s National Communications Authority is set to hold a two day symposium in Accra as part of events to mark its 20th anniversary as a regulator. Read More
NCC pays N1.4 tr into Federation Account, says DambattaThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has paid over N1.4 trillion to the Federation Account, the CEO of the regulatory body, Prof Garba Dambatta has said. Read More
FEATURED STORYFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes
Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job
Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market.