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Tiika, B.J.; Tang, Z.; Azaare, J.; Dagadu, J.C.; Otoo, S.N. E-Government Development across African Union Member States. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/55335 (accessed on 19 April 2024).
Tiika BJ, Tang Z, Azaare J, Dagadu JC, Otoo SN. E-Government Development across African Union Member States. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/55335. Accessed April 19, 2024.
Tiika, Bernard John, Zhiwei Tang, Jacob Azaare, Joshua Caleb Dagadu, Samuel Nii-Ayi Otoo. "E-Government Development across African Union Member States" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/55335 (accessed April 19, 2024).
Tiika, B.J., Tang, Z., Azaare, J., Dagadu, J.C., & Otoo, S.N. (2024, February 22). E-Government Development across African Union Member States. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/55335
Tiika, Bernard John, et al. "E-Government Development across African Union Member States." Encyclopedia. Web. 22 February, 2024.
E-Government Development across African Union Member States
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E-government refers to the application of ICTs to deliver government services to citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. It aims to provide better service delivery, reduce operational costs, empower citizens, increase efficiency and transparency, and reduce corruption. On the other hand, public administration deals primarily with the internal operations of the government agencies in charge of the administration of government operations. Effective public administration involves managing digital technologies and online services to provide citizens with access to government information and services through electronic channels. The digitization of public administration through the use of ICTS and the Internet to improve government service delivery is described as e-government. E-government can enhance citizen participation, increase awareness of government initiatives, improve transparency, and reduce corruption.

e-government public administration good governance

1. Introduction

There has been tremendous recognition across the globe that effective public-sector governance involves the application of e-government to achieve efficiency and improve the delivery of government services to individuals and organizations. Governments across the globe are investing and committing significant financial resources to the development of e-government and ICT. As of 2022, global IT expenditure amounted to over USD 548 billion, with an expected 7.8% increment to about USD 590 billion in 2023 [1][2]. For the Middle East and Africa, the estimated IT expenditure was about USD 105.3 billion in 2016, and it is expected to increase to USD 155.8 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.3% from 2018 to 2023 [3]. The evolution of service provision from traditional “brick-and-mortar” systems to advanced technology applications highlights the transformative journey of electronic government (e-government). Progressing from basic websites to sophisticated web browsers and mobile apps, e-government holds promising potential to revolutionize public administration, governance, and sustainable development [4][5][6][7].
The development of e-government is at varying stages worldwide. While most developed countries are comparatively advanced in the implementation and application of e-government for improving public-sector service delivery, most countries across the Africa Union member states are still confronted with the challenges of implementing e-government for public administration and governance. In the specific context of Ghana, the effectiveness of e-government in transforming public administration and governance requires critical evaluation. Issues such as limited access to technology, inadequate infrastructure, and the rising cost of data hinder e-government initiatives in Ghana. Although there are several studies on the performance of e-government in the European Union [8][9][10], there is a notable gap in the case of the African Union member states, specifically the impact of e-government on public administration and governance in the context of Ghana. While most advanced countries are comparatively advanced in their application of e-government for improving public-sector service delivery, most countries in Africa are still less developed in e-government development. To improve the development of e-government in these African countries, a comparative analysis is needed. Although there are several studies on the performance of e-government in the European Union [8][9][10], less is known for the case of African Union member states. Such a lack of clarity in the literature may hamper the performance of AU member states in delivering innovative public-sector services to citizens. To improve the development of e-government for public-service delivery in these African countries, a comparative analysis is needed, which, by extension, will contribute to the broader discourse on e-government in Africa and Ghana.

2. E-Government Policy Development in the African Union Member States

The African Union (AU), officially launched in 2002, is a continental body with membership from 55 African countries in the five regions of the continent. The AU recognizes the relevance of e-government as a crucial component of public administration and has adopted it as part of its information policy. E-government has since evolved over the years in all African countries from fragmented and inconsistent practices to more integrated and standardized methods [11].
Before the launch of AU, the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) was launched in 1996 with the aim to promote the growth and development of Africa’s digital vision and improve living standards in areas such as education, healthcare, trade, job creation, and food security. Following the launch, by the year 2002/2003, the AU recognized the need for e-government to improve governance and service delivery and adopted a framework for e-government development [12][13]. The framework aimed to provide guidelines for developing e-government policies, strategies, and legal frameworks and establishing the necessary infrastructure and human capacity [12][13]. Subsequently, these African countries have consistently promoted e-government delivery in Africa. By 2007, the African Union E-Governance Program was launched to provide technical assistance to other member countries to develop and implement their e-government strategies. The program has tremendously facilitated the sharing of best practices and experiences among these member countries across the continent [14][15]. Moreover, the e-Africa Commission was also established to accelerate Africa’s digital integration and create an information society and knowledge economy [16]. It was also established to provide equitable but affordable access to broadband and Internet services to promote the development of information and communication technology infrastructure in Africa [16][17].
Though progress was initially slow due to inadequate technological infrastructural investment, low-skilled labor, and a lack of political commitment to adopt and implement e-government practices [18][19], most African countries still learned lessons from Asia, Oceania, and Europe. These AU countries started implementing e-government policies as a way of delivering public services to their citizens and increasing accountability, transparency, and efficiency in their operations. In Asia, the United Arab Emirates, as the world’s first 100% paperless government, has embraced digitalization, drastically reducing the time for family registration processing from 3 days to a few minutes and saving 10 million hours for business registration applicants [20][21]. For the case of Oceania, Fiji uses the digitalFIJI program launched the myFeedback platform for users to manage births, retrieve and apply for birth certificates, and register companies, providing an online space for discussions on governance and government services [21][22]. In Europe, Serbia’s e-government implementation has significantly reduced the percentage of public-sector employees lacking basic computer skills to just 4%, with nearly all public institutions being equipped with data centers [9][21].
Additionally, though the dates of the establishment of government portals in each country vary, all aim to strengthen their commitment to e-government development [23]. The portals serve as central access points and aid in disseminating e-government information and services across member states. They further provide information on government services, programs, projects, and policies and also host online public services such as payment of taxes, passport applications, and business registration [12].
The development of e-government policies in Africa has had diverse impacts on digital transformation and public administration across Africa. Rwanda stands out with its Irembo platform as a success story, demonstrating the positive influence of robust e-government policies on public-service delivery and contributing to efficient public administration [24]. Kenyan citizens, through the creation of Huduma Centers across the country, are able to access various government services, digitally leading to a more efficient process, less bureaucracy, and higher levels of satisfaction among citizens [25]. South Africa’s leveraging of e-government policies has used online platforms such as “eNatis” for vehicle registration and licensing and the “eFiling” system for tax submissions, therefore reducing bureaucratic processes and enhancing accessibility to public services, ultimately improving the public administration system [26]. Similarly, the Ghana.gov server platform (https://www.ghana.gov.gh, Accessed on 1 September 2023) for public institutions has been able to generate results that meet the needs of citizens and enhance public administration.
Despite these efforts, the African Union continues to work with member countries to facilitate the development and implementation of effective digital transformation strategies that will enhance effective public administration and sustainable development on the African continent [27]. As technology continues to evolve, the AU aims to continue adapting and implementing e-government policies to meet the changing needs of citizens, businesses, and government agencies now and in the future.

3. E-Government Policy Development in Ghana

Ghana’s position as one of the leaders in ICT development in sub-Saharan Africa is attributed to the unwavering dedication of successive governments’ impactful initiatives and their implementation of policies to enhance digital infrastructure and promote access to government services through various online service platforms [4][28]. As a result, considerable efforts are consistently being made to ensure that growth in this sector is sustained [29]. Three of such projects are the e-Ghana Project, the e-Transform Project, and the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.
The first was the e-Ghana project, funded with USD 40 million from the World Bank in 2006; IT aimed to improve e-government interventions in Ghana through the use of ICT and public–private partnerships [30]. It had three components: creating an enabling environment, promoting IT investments and indigenous business development, and implementing e-government services and communication [30]. The project received further supplementary funding of USD 44.7 million in 2010 for another component. The project underwent a second restructuring in 2014 and ended on 30 December 2014 with a disbursement sum of USD 80.25 million from International Development Association resources [4][31]. The project aimed to improve Ghana’s public-sector efficiency by implementing an integrated information system. The second project is the e-Transform Project, supported by the World Bank Group, as a government-led initiative aimed at enhancing economic development in Ghana by improving access to government services, increasing productivity in the agricultural sector, promoting SMEs, and improving the quality of education [32]. The third project is the Ghana Economic Transformation Project, aimed at enhancing a growth strategy that supports economic evolution by achieving increased investment rates and productivity growth across the economy, with a particular focus on non-resource-based sectors. Furthermore, it endeavors to generate employment opportunities and elevate incomes to ensure a superior quality of life [19]. Additionally, other initiatives including the Ghana Card Project, the launch of a portal known as the “Ghana.gov server” (https://www.ghana.gov.gh, Accessed on 1 September 2023), the National Digital Addressing System Project, etc., have facilitated gains for Ghana [13][33][34].

4. Approaches to Monitoring E-Government Performance

Several institutions and researchers are using varied approaches in the monitoring and evaluation of e-government performance across the various institutions by using different indicators at different times [8][35][36]. Some of the organizations involved in the Global South are the World Economic Forum, the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank, USAID (Bringing Africa Online), and the United Nations (UN). The rankings have become unavoidable because they help track the progress and impact of electronic service delivery and improve transparency, accountability, and efficiency [37].
The World Economic Forum monitors and presents reports on the overall digital competitiveness of African countries using specific key indicators and promotes collaborative entrepreneurship to address global issues and shape agendas [38]. The ITU measures the digital development of countries based on skills, access, and use. It helps African countries to interconnect easily and expands access to ICTs for underserved areas [39]. E-government rankings have gradually become very relevant because they have moved from merely measuring websites to critically evaluating applications and government qualities and guiding countries to focus on their efforts [40]. At the international level, Eurostat also analyzes and evaluates e-government data by using indicators that measure the relationships between citizens and businesses with public administration modernization. The project improves African integration through better statistics for informed decision making and fosters institutional capacity building [8][41].
The United Nations e-Governance Survey has become a constant biannual event among the 193 member countries across the globe. “The survey assesses global and regional e-government development through a comparative rating of national government portals relative to one another…it is designed to provide a snapshot of country trends and relative rankings of e-government development…” It helps African countries to learn from each other, identify areas of strength and challenges in e-government, and shape their policies and strategies [42].
From the literature above, all the organizations involved have different approaches to the monitoring of e-government performance. They all have different timeframes, methodologies, and monitoring indicators based on the purposes of their respective organizations. For the sake of consistency, researchers chose to focus on the approach used by the United Nations.

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