n Mousaion - E-government implementation strategies and best practices : implications for sub-Saharan Africa

Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The annual UN e-government surveys have consistently indicated that sub-Saharan African countries are still lagging behind their counterparts in the developed and transitional economies with regard to the implementation of e-government. This article discusses various e-government strategies and best practices being implemented around the world and the implications for sub-Saharan Africa. In view of the fact that e-government initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa are subject to different administrative contexts and rationalities, this study argues that approaches should be promoted which engender a sharing in global best practices, with due regard for local contexts. Using the annual UN e-government surveys as a theoretical framework, and based on an analysis of available e-government literature, this article sought to determine why sub-Saharan African countries are lagging behind in e-government initiatives. The following specific research questions are addressed: What e-government strategies and best practices are being applied in the developed world? What is the status of e-government in sub-Saharan Africa? What barriers are impacting on sub-Saharan Africa's quest for competitive e-governance? And finally, how can sub-Saharan Africa overcome these barriers to improve its global ranking in e-government? The findings showed that, although sub-Saharan Africa has largely adopted the e-government implementation strategies of the developed world, this has not propelled the continent to become more competitive in its global ranking compared to its counterparts in Europe, North America and Asia. These countries have all prioritised initiatives, such as the creation of enabling strategies within the parameters of the local context, alternative public information delivery methods, a focus on a common set of goals for government agencies, enlisting senior management support, ensuring supportive telecommunications policies, promoting citizen involvement in policy formulation and the alignment of technology with development programmes. Some major challenges facing the sub-continent include, for example, the improvement of overall literacy, the development of a reliable telecommunications infrastructure and the commitment of governments to genuine transformation directed at more transparent and citizen-centred governance. Despite the fact that e-government in sub-Saharan Africa is still lagging behind relative to the rest of the world, there is optimism that things are turning around for the better. Since 2008, several factors, such as the completion of the undersea fibre connectivity on the east coast of Africa coupled with an increasingly expanding mobile phone penetration, among other factors, have improved the prospects for e-government growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

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