eGovernment in Africa: Promise and Practice

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Abstract

e-Government has already arrived in Africa, though it is essentially an imported concept based on imported designs. There are growing numbers of e-government projects, some of which are contributing to public sector reform and delivering gains of efficiency and/or effectiveness across a broad agenda. However, this positive picture must be set alongside significant challenges. e-Government is only slowly diffusing within Africa because of a lack of 'e-readiness for e-government' that can be charted along six dimensions. There is widespread recognition that this challenge must be met by strategic building of national infrastructure. Where e-government projects are introduced, they mainly end in failure; either partial or total. To address this tactical challenge, stakeholders must be sensitised to the large gaps that often exist between project design and African public sector reality. These large `design - reality gaps' can be seen to underlie failure. They arise particularly because e-government concepts and designs have their origins in the West; origins that are significantly different from African realities. Some best practices are outlined that may help to close design - reality gaps and, hence, may help to improve project success rates. This will only happen, though, if they too are appropriate to African realities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-114
JournalInformation Polity
Volume7
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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