The Prospects for eGovernment and eGovernance in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Zambia

The Prospects for eGovernment and eGovernance in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Zambia

Joshua C. Nyirenda (Saint Louis University, USA) and Robert A. Cropf (Saint Louis University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/jegr.2010102003
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Abstract

EGovernance and eGovernment are critical tools for Good governance and economic development, and are therefore critical for Highly Indebted Poor Countries, a majority of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa. This article reviews literature in order to discuss the prospects of eGovernance and eGovernment in Sub Saharan Countries, and chooses the nation of Zambia as an in-depth case study. Issues of investment climate, market structure, infrastructural capacity, social contexts and political and cultural resistance factors are identified as impediments but also key components (if well understood and tackled) for effective initiation and implementation of eGovernance and eGovernment projects.
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Introduction

Good government and governance practices contribute to economic development and the spread of the benefits of growth to people in countries everywhere. Increasingly, societies are grasping the linkages between information, information technology, and economic growth (Krishna & Walsham, 2005; Bhatnagar, 2002). Flor (2001), for example, asserts, “We are now in the information age, where knowledge is a critical resource and information is a primary commodity. Information poor societies, therefore, also become the resource poor societies” (p. 4).

The digital age, moreover, has opened avenues for the enhancement of government’s traditional activities and the improvement of governmental efficiency through eGovernment. However, even as the world faces regional economic inequality, information communication technology (ICT) creates its own form of glaring inequality: the digital divide. Consequently, economically disenfranchised nations face simultaneous challenges in the governance and the digital domains. Numerous people in developing countries do not have access to ICT and there is a large gap between the elite, who can afford the technology, and the poor who cannot (Basu, 2004). Table 1 below illustrates the digital divide at the global level. The overall availability of, and the general public’s access to, ICT are factors that help determine a country’s readiness for both eGovernment and eGovernance.

Table 1.
Internet usage by region of the world (Source: Dada, D. (2006). The Failure of E-Government in Developing Countries: A Literature Review., p. 7)
World RegionsPopulation
(2006 Est.)
Population
% of World
Internet Usage
(Latest Data)
% Population (Penetration)Usage % of
World
Usage Growth
2000- 2005
Africa915,210,92814.10%23,649,0002.60%2.30%423.90%
Asia3,667,774,06656.40%364,270,7139.90%35.60%218.70%
Europe807,289,02012.40%291,600,89836.10%28.50%177.50%
Middle East190,084,1612.90%18,203,5009.60%1.80%454.20%
North America331,473,2765.10%227,303,68068.60%22.20%110.30%
Latin America/ Caribbean553,908,6328.50%79,962,80914.40%7.80%342.50%
Oceania / Australia33,956,9770.50%17,872,70752.60%1.70%134.60%
World Total6,499,697,060100.00%1,022,863,30715.70%100.00%183.40%

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