E-Documents and E-Signatures in Tanzania: Their Role, Status, and the Future

E-Documents and E-Signatures in Tanzania: Their Role, Status, and the Future

Ubena John (Stockholm University, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1740-7.ch031
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This chapter analyses the use of e-Documents and e-Signatures in Tanzania with a view of establishing their legal status, applicability, and the future of such technologies in e-Government systems. That is important as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is widely employed in Tanzania. Moreover, the development and application of information systems is influenced by law. Therefore, the problem investigated is twofold: First, legal status, validity, and admissibility of e-Documents and e-Signatures in evidence in Tanzania are questioned. Second, the challenges facing the establishment of e-Government in Tanzania are explored. The chapter is a qualitative study, i.e. library- and desk-based research. Various literatures focusing on e-Documents and e-Signatures are reviewed, analysed, and evaluated so as to draw a conclusion on the relevancy of e-Documents and e-Signatures in the e-Government projects in Tanzania. The literature analysis conducted found that there is a lack of legal framework to recognize e-Documents and e-Signatures compounded with poor ICT infrastructure in Tanzania. This scenario puts e-Government endeavours at risk. It is recommended that the government should enact the laws to recognise e-Documents and e-Signatures to boost e-Commerce as well as e-Government.
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Generally, the development of ICT systems for e-Commerce and e-Government, depend on legal validity of the e-Document and e-Signature (Schartum, 2010; Sjöberg, 2005b). The legal validity of e-Documents and e-Signatures in Tanzania is linked with the emergence of commercial banking and liberalisation of the telecommunications sector. The sections below provide a short history of ICT application including e-Documents, e-Signatures, e-Government, and e-Commerce and their related laws in Tanzania. In addition, the chapter blends the views of other scholars to support or refute the assumptions put forward while simultaneously demonstrating author’s own position on the topic.

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