E-Government in Saudi Arabia: Between Promise and Reality

E-Government in Saudi Arabia: Between Promise and Reality

Maher O. Al-Fakhri (Ministry of Civil Service, Saudi Arabia), Robert A. Cropf (Saint Louis University, USA), Gary Higgs (Saint Louis University, USA) and Patrick Kelly (Saint Louis University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-918-2.ch011
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Abstract

Saudi Arabia is in the process of transitioning to e-government. Many of the Saudi government agencies have their own web sites; however, most are ineffective. Based on the findings of this study, the Saudis should consider several reforms, chief among which include the following: Increasing the awareness of its e-government program among its employees and the public at-large; making Internet access more available across the full spectrum of society; equipping public facilities for Internet usage; developing a legal framework for secure e-transactions; adopting a flexible approach to technological change and the IT environment more generally; providing IT training to government employees; partnering with the private sector to establish electronic fund transfers; and, finally, fostering 2-way communication between government agencies and between the government and the public.
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Review Of The Literature

There have been a number of studies that focus on the e-government experiences from several developing countries around the world. Many of these studies examine the effects, impacts, challenges, and issues of implementing e-government from the perspective of a developing nation. However, there have been relatively few studies on e-government in Saudi Arabia or the rest of the Arab world. Studies conducted by OECD (2003) provided depth examinations of several countries’ experiences with implementing e-government including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, the United States, and Germany. The studied compared and evaluated the differences of implementing e-government among these selected OECD countries. Also, they focused on the challenges and obstacles that should be overcome in order for e-governments to flourish. The results showed the most important challenges facing governments today and in the future include lack of funds, shortage of skills, overall costs, lack of accountability, and difficulties of monitoring and evaluating e-government programs.

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