The term e-government (and its close relation e-governance) gets used in many different ways [1
]. Broadly speaking, e-government is the use of ICT (or more narrowly, the Internet) to make government more efficient, responsive, effective, and transparent. In this context, government can mean any activity by officials at a national, regional, or local level, and can encompass whole development programmes, such as improving health or education, as well as day-to-day administrative activities [2
]. Governance and the Internet
underlines how conditions within a country affect what it is possible or sensible to attempt in e-governance, with illustrations from Asia.
The most popular use of the term e-government in developing countries may be applying ICTs to make administrative transactions, such as getting certificates or permits, or registering a birth or death, more accessible to citizens and less prone to corruption: citizens make fewer journeys, complete fewer forms and meet fewer officials. This approach has been pioneered in India, to modernise procedures suited to a different era and way of life [3
Successful e-government projects [5
] sometimes get more publicity than unsuccessful ones, but it is important when developing UAS policy to take lessons from both [6
The reach of e-government depends on the availability of infrastructure, and in some cases e-government projects provide or contribute to this availability. However, e-government has many other requirements besides the availability of infrastructure; they may jointly be called e-readiness. To ensure that e-government applications are matched to the readiness to accept and use them, they should often be introduced in stages. The Practice Note A staged approach to developing e-government
shows stages suitable for the least developed countries.
- For an eGovernment Toolkit (InfoDev).
- For a virtual library on e-government, see Knowledge Systems and E-government (UNPAN).
- For information on, and evaluations of, such projects, see e-Governance & e-Government (UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme).
- See e-government for development (University of Manchester) http://www.egov4dev.org/.
- For examples see http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan028454.pdf
- For case studies classified by degree of success, as well as by sector and region, and help in understanding the factors underlying success, see Cases of eGovernment Success and Failure from Developing/Transitional Countries: Categorised (University of Manchester).