E-Government in East Africa: Towards an Understanding of the Evolution of Electronic Governance in Kenya, 1990-2013

E-Government in East Africa: Towards an Understanding of the Evolution of Electronic Governance in Kenya, 1990-2013

Felistus Kinyanjui (Kenyatta University, Kenya)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6296-4.ch006
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Abstract

Today, many governments have embraced e-governance through automation in order to enhance service delivery thereby overcoming the challenges of traditional governance. Potentially, ICT can transform the generation and delivery of public services with the object of increasing the frequency and recurrence of online services interaction and participation between the governed and the governors. Since 2004, the Kenya government has made a shift towards automation and electronic service delivery. This chapter addresses the policies, strategies, and institutional structures through which e-participation is taking place. Evidence was gleaned through the use of extant secondary and primary data. Findings show that good will from the governors through an enabling environmental policy is an opportunity to be seized for e-participation to blossom amidst a few challenges that are surmountable. To enjoy the dividends of e-participation, more training and substantial investment in the architecture for e-governance in Kenya remain urgent priorities.
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Background

Governments are obliged to provide essential services to its citizenry. Since the evolution of state and national governments (possibly from 1648) the delivery of service has evolved with technology but the information age, in which we live, service delivery has been revolutionized in a greater way than in any other age.

Governments, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are variously referred to as being electronic, online or internet-based. This is because they heavily rely on the use of technology in service delivery. The use of other non-Internet technologies such as telephone, fax, short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), wireless networks, bluetooth, television and radio-based delivery of government services also enhances of e-government. The use of ICT decouples space and time and marks a shift in paradigm from face to face, interpersonal interaction to one in which technology eases the way service is delivered, often in a fast and efficient way. Thus, researchers agree that e-government is an innovative attempt to take advantage of ICT to facilitate the citizens’ access to government information and services in order to support social, economic and political development, improve the quality of public services, and provide an avenue for citizens to interact with government institutions and processes in a democratic, transparent and equitable way. The services in question include, but are not limited to; law and order, regulation compliance, economic development, permits and licenses, social services, infrastructure, national social security and defence, anti-corruption alerts among others.

ICT in the context of e-government, is looked at as a portal for information exchange or a platform through which decisions can be made. The growth of the internet has had a transformational effect on the global society making information and services accessible in ways that were imagined, just some 30 years ago (Napoli et al., 2000). Further, the use of the internet and web tools for supporting participatory actions in legislative processes, political or societal decision-making in governmental or communities' context as well as user friendly electronic government services or e-participation is becoming a common practice. E-governments have revolutionized the way service delivery is conducted with efficiency, transparency, increased participation, democracy and customer satisfaction being some of the dividends that come with the use of ICT in both developed and developing countries.

In 2007, Canada was considered the most developed country in as far as implementing e-government was concerned. The Canadian government had committed to shaping itself as being mostly connected to its citizens (Kumar et al., 2007). The government allocated CAD$880 million to support the development of e-government initiatives (Kumar et al., 2007). In spite of this there are certain challenges that Canada faces such as citizen’s usage of the available e-government resources (portals, websites).

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