E-Government in Africa: prospects, challenges and practices

E-Government in Africa: prospects, challenges and practices

ICT potential remains largely unexploited in Africa

In an increasingly globalised world, where information technology has become one of the key determinants of growth, many African countries are facing new challenges as a result of the emerging information age. This paper explores the possibilities offered by E-Government to Africa by documenting a few initiatives on the continent that have developed innovative models that contribute to governments’ efficiency, accessibility, transparency and accountability through the implementation of ICT-based services.

It focuses mainly on the cases of three African countries – Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mauritius.

The paper shows that though a growing number of national and local governments are setting up national ICT policies, putting critical information online, automating administrative process and interacting with their citizens through online services, the opportunities offered by these new technologies remain largely unexploited.

The paper identifies the following major barriers to the success of e-government:

  • low rate of literacy
  • underdeveloped telecommunication infrastructure
  • lack of commitment of governments to genuine transformation towards a more transparent and citizen-centred governance

It, however, concludes that e-government has the ability to stimulate the emergence of an Africa-adapted cyber culture, hasten ICT-literacy, and hence to encourage ICT for development applications with high socio-economic benefits such as e-agriculture, e-commerce, e-education and e-health.

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