E-governance is a powerful tool for bringing about change to government processes in the developing world. It operates at the crossroads between Information and Communication Technology and government processes and can be divided into three overlapping domains: e-administration, e-services and e-society. To succeed, e-governance must be firmly embedded in existing government processes; supported, both politically and technically, by the governments; and provide users with reasons to use these on-line domains. To maximize the impact, process change must be part and parcel of e-governance. This chapter presents and evaluates the ongoing DistrictNet e-governance programme in Uganda which was set up in 2002 to provide transparency at the local government level and improve the provision of public information using ICT. DistrictNet’s achievements are presented and evaluated according to the criteria of the three domains of e-governance and their impact on government processes. On the basis of this evaluation, we elicit lessons that can be used to guide smaller programmes at the local government level in the developing world.
Short Introduction To Uganda
Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2005, the per capita income was estimated to be approximately US$250. Life expectancy at birth remains low: 43 years in 2004, compared to 47 years in 1990. Similarly, infant and child mortality has not improved much over the same period and today remains at around 100 respectively 150 per 1,000 live births. Nevertheless, the country’s firm commitment to poverty reduction, as spelled out in its Poverty Reduction Strategy, produced several positive results in the area of development, which brought the country closer to reaching the Millennium Development Goals:
• The number of adults with HIV/AIDS declined significantly over the last decade from about 18 percent in the early 1990s to 6.1 percent in 2005.
• Access to safe water increased from 54 percent in 2000 to 65 percent in 2005 in urban areas and from 50 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2003 in rural areas.
• Net enrolment rates for primary schooling increased from 62.3 percent in 1992 to 86 percent in 2005.
• Total youth literacy increased from 75 percent in 1995 to 81 percent in 2005.
• GDP per capita has grown on average by 3.6 percent since 1995.