E-Government Development in Botswana: The Role of Libraries

E-Government Development in Botswana: The Role of Libraries

Kgomotso H. Moahi (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5868-4.ch016
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Abstract

Botswana is in the process of developing and implementing e-Government for its population in an effort to enhance and improve service delivery. In order to achieve that, a significant number of interventions have been put in place on both the supply and demand sides of e-Government. Using literature and document review, this conceptual chapter highlights the major interventions in place to encourage development of e-Government. Specifically, the chapter explores the role of libraries in cementing the use and growth of e-Government in Botswana. The chapter posits that libraries have a cardinal role to play in successful implementation of e-Government, and must therefore be taken into serious account.
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Introduction And Background

Although decades behind developed countries in the implementation of e-Government, African countries, and Botswana in particular, are in the process of providing e-Government services to their citizenry. For Botswana, this has been in the making since the MAITLAMO ICT policy was formulated in 2004. The policy clearly stipulated what needed to be in place for e-Government to work, namely, good ICT infrastructure; cyber laws to address cybercrime; ensuring access to the technology so that e-Government access does not become another elitist service; and skills to use the technology (Maitlamo, 2004). However, even with these conditions in place, literature has revealed that although many countries have implemented e-Government services, uptake or use of these has been less than expected.

The OECD report on Government at a Glance (2009) found a discrepancy between the large amounts of e-Government services available and the use of these services in Europe – a phenomenon that led OECD to adopt the theme of user-centered approaches as opposed to government centered approaches to providing e-Government services. It is therefore imperative for developing countries such as Botswana to adopt user-centered approaches in a bid to determine the likelihood of successful implementation of e-Government.

The findings of the OECD report led to articulation of six new initiatives in e-Government that must be taken into account to achieve a demand-driven e-Government rather than a supply driven e-Government (UN, 2012). These include: user take up and training; accessibility of Internet or mobile connectivity to all; accessibility to services to vulnerable groups; multichannel service provision; whole of government and one stop service production – more will be said about these at a later stage.

This chapter focuses on e-Government and its requirements and will interrogate how ready Botswana is in terms of: infrastructure; legislation and policy; access and skills on the part of the population; it will also consider the readiness (or not) of public libraries to facilitate access and use of e-Government for communities that they serve. In short, the chapter will provide a consideration of what a user-centered approach to providing e-Government entails and explore to what extent the Botswana project has considered the user-centered approach in designing its e-Government project. The questions to be considered will include:

  • What is e-Government readiness;

  • The status of e-Government in Africa;

  • The status of e-Government in Botswana;

  • Issues of access, needs and skills in Botswana;

  • What role for public libraries in e-Government.

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