E-Government Readiness in East and Southern Africa

E-Government Readiness in East and Southern Africa

S. M. Mutula (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch088
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Abstract

Governments in East and Southern Africa, like their counterparts in developing and developed world, are under increasing pressure from donor agencies and non-governmental organizations to improve service delivery to citizens and at the same time be able to demonstrate accountability and transparency in the management of public resources (International Records Management Trust, 2004). Most countries in East and Southern Africa, largely began to appreciate the importance of sound public record management practices during the 1980s and 1990s. This period experienced increased donor pressure especially from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through their structural adjustment programmes (SAPS) that was exerted on the recipients of global donor funding in an attempt to remedy the economic hardships that characterise most developing countries including those in Africa. Structural Adjustment Programmes were meant to provide the best opportunity to implement public sector reforms in order to promote better use of public resources and enhance accountability by governments to their citizens (Wamukoya, 2000). To meet the accountability and transparency demands of the global donor agencies and also the need to meet the increasing demands by citizens for efficient delivery of services, governments worldwide are now taking advantage of the revolution that is taking place in information and communications technologies especially the Internet, the personal computer, the mobile phone, and other modern communication devices. The concept of e-government in its simplest form is now the catchword that is increasingly being used to imply the delivery of government services online. Heeks (2002) defines e-government as the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the activities of public sector organisations. E-government is claimed as an efficient means to streamline public sector functions and increase citizen participation in the running of public affairs (Wamukoya, 2000). Governments in East and Southern Africa like their counterpart in a developed world, are increasingly turning to e-government to streamline public sector functions and increase citizen participation in the running of public affairs (Wamukoya, 2000). However, in an attempt to implement e-government projects, countries in East and Southern Africa face numerous challenges such as lack of requisite skills and competencies in e-records management; lack of enabling policy and legislative framework; lack of standards and formal methodologies for managing e-record; and inadequate infrastructure.

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