E-Government Strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa: Failures and Successes

E-Government Strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa: Failures and Successes

Stephen M. Mutula (University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa) and Gbolahan Olasina (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5868-4.ch019
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Abstract

E-government if well implemented has the potential to reduce administrative bureaucracy and enhance development and service delivery. This chapter discusses strategies of e-government implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa and the implications for good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, accountability, integrity, and transparency. E-government in Sub-Saharan Africa is being undertaken in different administrative contexts and rationalities such as the need for reform, efficiency, and citizen-focus. An e-government implementation approach that facilitates and engenders the sharing of best practices, experiences, methods, and standards while reducing turnaround times and cost in project delivery would be desirable. This chapter is underpinned by UN e-government framework.
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Introduction

There are several definitions of e-government in literature. Ngulube (2007) cited twelve different definitions of e-government underlining the fact the concept has many interdisciplinary homes and is also still in the embryonic stages of development. The United Nations (UN E-government Survey 2010) defines e-government as a means of enhancing the capacity of the public sector, together with citizens, to address particular development issues. From this perspective, e-government aims at strengthening the performance of government and public administration with the ultimate goal of achieving economic and social development (Anttiroiko & Malkia, 2006). Heeks (2004) defines e-government as online government or Internet-based government. He however acknowledges, that technologies such as the telephone, fax, short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), wireless networks, Bluetooth, television and radio-based delivery of government services can be deployed for e-government purposes. Curin, Sommer and Vis-Sommer (2003) acknowledging the role played by any form of information technology in governance defines e-government as the use of any and all forms of ICT by governments and their agents to enhance operations; the delivery of public information and services; citizen engagement and public participation; and the very process of governance. The World Bank (2007) on its part perceives e-government as the use by government agencies of information technologies (such as wide area networks, the Internet and mobile computing) that have the ability to transform relations with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. In spite of the variety of e-government definitions proffered in literature, the term has become firmly integrated in the lingual Franca of diverse academic disciplines such as the humanities, social sciences, the arts, information technology, management and more. This article adopts the definition by the World Bank (2007) as a result of its suitability.

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