E-governance in Africa: from theory to action - a handbook on ICTs for local governance

E-governance in Africa: from theory to action - a handbook on ICTs for local governance

Understanding the interaction between ICTs and local governance in Africa

This book presents the context, theory and current thinking on the interaction betweeen ICTs and local governance, particularly in Africa. It discusses the shift from ‘government’ to ‘e-governance,’ describes the role of local-level authorities, and presents the benefits and limitations of introducing ICTs in government operations.

The author argues that e-governance can enable local governments to ‘re-invent’ themselves, and maintains that a good deal of the promise of democratic governance can be more readily accomplished through the embodiment of networked electronic facilities in local government administration.

Case studies from Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda describe local governance/ICTs projects executed by civil society organisations, academic institutions, and government authorities. Drawing from these case studies and from the introductory research and original conceptual framework, the book presents a series of conclusions and recommendations on the future of effective ICTs use for better governance and improved economic development at the local level.

Main conclusions:

  • there is no single way of introducing ICTs in government. The process is dynamic and consists of several stages, especially in Africa
  • participation is a crucial problem in the process of introducing and promoting the use of ICTs for community development.
  • women barely use ICTs, and when they do they use these tools less than men, even when they are relatively literate
  • due to installation costs and the recurrent expenses involved in the use of ICTs, alternative technologies (satellites, wireless and mobile technology, multimedia tools etc) should be considered in the introduction of ICTs in oder to better adapt to the limited infrastructure available and to improve community access

Recommendations:

  • accurate and strategic planning, effective monitoring and critical evaluation are indispensable to identify factors inhibiting impact and to ensure sustainability
  • in view of many local languages and widespread illiteracy, it is important to make content available in local languages
  • a serious approach to developing business model for transforming content to viable e-business/e-commerce solutions, especially in rural areas should be adopted
  • capacity building should focus not only on the training of individualsbut also on reinforcing the capacity of organisations and institutions at the local government level
  • steps should be taken to overcome the resistance of decision makers

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