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What is Municipal Information Society (MIS)

Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
A term used for the innovative use of ICT to improve the internal operation of a municipality, as well as its communication and collaboration with citizens, the private sector, and civil society in a municipal area.
Published in Chapter:
E-Government and Digital Divide in Developing Countries
Udo Richard Averweg (eThekwini Municipality and University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch207
The transition of the global economy from an industrial focus to one based on knowledge and information presents numerous opportunities and challenges to countries, especially those in the developing world (Cape IT Initiative, 2003). The government sector (and especially the local government sector) needs to embrace information and communication technologies (ICTs) that enable it to operate more efficiently and communicate better with its citizens. ICTs encompass all technologies that facilitate the processing and transfer of information and communication services (United Nations, 2002). Many factors affect how local governments (i.e., municipalities) in developing countries access ICTs. In order to bridge the digital divide?which separates the technology ‘haves’ from the technology ‘have nots’?it is necessary to gauge where citizens are in terms of ICT adoption, that is, their e-readiness. E-readiness can be defined in terms of availability of ICT infrastructure, the accessibility of ICT to the general citizen population, and the effect of the legal and regulatory framework on ICT use in, for example, an e-government strategy. eThekwini Municipality (2003), in the city of Durban in the developing country of South Africa, sees the e-government strategy and its Web site at as important management tools for improved citizen service delivery and communication. The objective of this article is to report, as an example, on the survey of ICT and information needs of a selected metropolitan municipal area (eThekwini Municipality in South Africa). Such a report maybe useful to other municipalities in developing countries for their egovernment strategies. This article is organized as follows. The background to e-government and the digital divide are discussed. eThekwini Municipality in South Africa is then described. The research goals are outlined, the research method and data gathering are discussed, the survey results and discussion are given, and future trends for implementing an e-government strategy in municipalities in developing countries are suggested. Finally, a conclusion is given.
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