newmediadev2009




E-GOVERNANCE

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Mission:
This wiki aims to compile a wealth of information about all things related to E-Governance and the potential to improve governance and government services with new technologies. However, unlike other resources on the topic, we maintain a focus on E-Governance as it relates to international development and creating better living standards for marginalised populations around the world. Developing countries not only face particular difficulties when it comes to introducing technology-driven reforms, they also face specific development-related objectives such as the reduction of inequality, poverty, corruption and lack of access. We therefore examine cases of E-Governance programs in order to highlight their impact on national development and identify some recommendations for best practice.


Perspective:

Along with the rapid expansion of digital society, the concept of E-Governance is evolving. The idea of E-Government service provision is slowly broadening to include efforts to promote greater two-way participation between citizens and their government. This is known as E-Governance. However, the pace of such transformation varies between and within countries. E-Government has succeeded in reducing the cost of governmental services and political participation, but it must also address this widening divide if it is to avoid reproducing structural inequalities. In particular, we believe that the design and implementation of e-Government projects has to favor marginalized populations in order to promote true development. Unfortunately, there are currently few systematic efforts to design and implement E-Government projects that reduce the digital divide.


About Us:

This website is a team project for a research seminar on New Media and Development Communications at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (Fall 2009).
We welcome suggestions and comments from anyone interested in the subject.


Instructor: Professor Anne Nelson
Editorial Team: Mehdi Jalali and Cara Haberman



What is E-Governance?

E-Government, an abbreviation for electronic government, is the relatively new practice in which government services are provided or improved through the use of information and communication technology. But what is E-Governance and how it is different from E-Government? What is Digital Divide? And how does E-Governance effect digital political voice? Read about E-Government to find out more



The Practice of E-Government in Different Countries:

Advanced and developing countries are all using E-Government, but to different degrees. In developing countries the promises of E-Government is mainly constructed to advance governmental services, increase productivity, reduce corruption, and help marginalized populations. However, there is a little information on the effectiveness of these promises because many of these projects are relatively new and their implementors have been incapable of designing adequate monitoring and feedback systems. Here we illustrate these themes with case studies about E-Government practices in two countries: Kenya and South Korea:

Kenya’s e-Government program was meant to address two impediments to development faced by many countries: endemic corruption and inefficiency. Although Kenya is classified as a less-developed country according to the UN’s Computer Industry Development index, the country managed to successfully introduce e-Government services that have improved government services and reduced corruption. However, while the anti-corruption programs made efforts to be inclusive of the entire population, overall Kenyan e-Government is not as participatory as it could be, and so far little is known about how the programs have impacted more vulnerable populations.

South Korea’s E-Governance efforts represent a case in which a country deliberately and successfully used E-Government initiatives in order to attain national development objectives. Two such objectives that are important for all developing countries are fighting corruption and increasing productivity. South Korea is also unique in that it moved beyond solely E-Government service provision and incorporated avenues of citizen participation into its web portals. Moreover, the government made sure more citizens can participate by funding training and infrastructure development for marginalized populations.
South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, and it therefore seems inaccurate to assume that other countries can follow its lead. However, the country did not start out with that advantage: e-Governance in South Korea was successful because of the technological advancement of the country, but the reason why South Korea is technologically advanced is because the nation deliberately decided to focus on specializing in computer-based services. In short, Korea was successful because it passed national policies that deliberately used Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as tools to achieve policy goals. It therefore provides an interesting study and model of e-Governance policy-making.









Additional Sources:


UNESCO E-Governance Capacity Building Initiative:


UNESCO's project aims to promote the use of ICT tools in municipalities to enhance good governance. Training modules on e-governance for local decision-makers are being developed and implemented according to a prior assessment of the needs and opportunities in the three regions: Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The following cases, prepared by UNESCO, do not necessarily highlight the implications of E-Governance on the digital divide and developing countries. However, they do provide useful studies of the use of ICT tools in governance, in particular as tools used for 1) informing citizens; 2)improving service delivery and 3) increasing citizen participation. Click here to find out more about these UNESCO cases.


Other E-Government Resources