newmediadev2009



KENYA



The Importance of the Case

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.


The Context

In 2000, the Kenyan government started investing in ICT infrastructure with the help of foreign funding. However, according to the Computer Industry Development Potential (a UN index), Kenya is still a technologically less-developed country. Nevertheless, the country has managed to implement a significant e-Government program, beginning in 2004.
kenyapic.jpg
kenyapic.jpg

In fact, e-Government is an essential component of the country’s development plan, called Kenya Vision 2030, and is identified as an objective for the “Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation” (see Backus, Michiel). As such, the official goals of e-Government are to create wealth by:
- Facilitating better and efficient delivery of information and services to the citizens;
- Promoting productivity among public servants;
- Encouraging participation of citizens in Government; and,
- Empowering all Kenyans.

According to commentators, another goal of e-Government in Kenya is to fight corruption. The Kenyan Anti-Corruption Authority (KACA) is the body charged with this mandate, however until recently KACA has only been able to deal with extremely large, historical cases of corruption. Because citizens were unwilling to come forward, current cases of corruption were not being documented. E-Governance helped change that.


Description of the Project

To help fight corruption, Kenya started the Electronic Graft Management (EGM) project. Its goal was to increase public awareness and encourage public participation in fighting corruption practices. The idea was that citizens would be more willing to use the Internet and email to publicly report corruption because these methods afforded greater privacy than telephone and in-person reporting. An Internet hotline was therefore established, and citizens can access it from any Internet café.

In order to achieve the government’s other goal of improved efficiency and wealth creation, all government ministries were connected to the Internet and now run integrated information systems. This makes everyday processing of information far faster and more accurate. This improvement is illustrated in the following movie made by the World Bank, one of Kenya’s e-Government donors.






To explore Kenya's e-Government portal yourself, follow this link: http://www.e-government.go.ke/

Challenges:

Participation: One of the biggest challenges of the anti-corruption project was to encourage the public to voluntarily report corruption. In order to overcome this, EGM complemented its ICT technology with traditional manpower: they got excited young people to volunteer to inform their communities about the new Internet hotline. They also advertised in the news media, got help spreading the word from Church-groups and NGOs and organised door-to-door campaigns. In short, they made a big effort to reach out to groups of people with less access to knowledge and information. (see Gichoya, D)

Management: In terms of e-Government services, the biggest challenges Kenya faced were that:
· It’s projects were donor-funded, and donors did not always consult properly with local stakeholders before implementing their projects;
· The budget for ICTs was too small; and,
· There was a lack of general policies and master planning to guide ICT development, which led to a lack of coordination in implementation.



Impact

Despite these challenges, the Kenyan e-Government initiative has had some significant successes. In fact, an evaluation done in two municipalities by Timothy Mwololo Waema and Winnie Mitullah (researchers from the University of Nairobi) found that citizens felt that e-Governance had improved the participation, transparency, accountability and efficiency of government. Here are their findings in more detail:

In terms of transparency, 80% of citizens felt that computerization had improved government transparency, particularly financial transparency (which is related to corruption). This is very interesting because before the program was introduced, citizens felt that there was 0 financial transparency!
The following graph shows the specific results of the surveys:



transparency_impact.jpg
transparency_impact.jpg

Source: Mwololo Waema, Timothy and Winnie Mitullah


In terms of accountability, 80% of citizens felt it had improved as a result of e-Government services. This was because with e-Government, they could track business permit licences and all payments made by city councillors were also monitored.

The efficiency of government also improved as a result of the electronic services. Over 82% of total consumers thought government services were more effective, particularly financial management. The following table shows the breakdown of services and the before and after change in how users rated them.



efficiency_indicator.jpg
efficiency_indicator.jpg

Source: Mwololo Waema, Timothy and Winnie Mitullah


Finally, e-Governance also brought improvements in citizen participation. As shown below, the participation of residents in the two municipalities monitored significantly improved after the introduction of e-Government services:




participation_impact.jpg
participation_impact.jpg

Source: Mwololo Waema, Timothy and Winnie Mitullah

However, when compared to other sub-Saharan countries, Kenya has thus far devoted fewer web-resources to participative content. This is therefore an area where improvements can be made.




userinteractivity.jpg
userinteractivity.jpg
Source: Kaaya, Janet
Finally, it must be noted that the strength of e-Government programs varies widely across Kenya and across different government bodies: for example, the impact evaluation conducted by Waema and Mitullah focuses on two municipal governments, which are obviously smaller and less bureaucratic than the central government. Therefore, more monitoring of this type must be conducted in order to truly measure the impact of e-Governance throughout the country. Nevertheless, these initial results are promising.



References

Backus, Michiel. E-Governance and Developing Countries: Introduction and examples. Research Report. No. 3, April 2001. Available online at http://www.iicd.org/files/report3.doc

Gichoya, D. “Factors Affecting the Successful Implementation of ICT Projects in Government” The Electronic Journal of e-Government. Available online at www.ejeg.com.

Kenya's e-Government web-portal. Available online at:
http://www.e-government.go.ke/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=94

Kaaya, Janet. Implementing e-Government Services in East Africa: Assessing Status through Content Analysis of Government Websites, Electronic Journal of e-Government. Volume 2 Issue 1, 2004: pp 39-54. Available online at http://www.ejeg.com/volume-2/volume2-issue-1/v2-i1-art5-kaaya.pdf

Mwololo Waema, Timothy and Winnie Mitullah. “E-Governance and Governance: A Case Study of the Assessment of the Effects of Integrated Financial Management System on Good Governance in Two Municipal Councils in Kenya”. ICEGOV2007, December 10-13, 2007, Macao.
Volume 3 Issue 4, 2005: pp 175-184, available online at http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1328113





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