International e-governance for development

E-government is often considered as a synonym of development in public administration. Developing countries however, often do not have the resources or the know-how to carry forward such project and reforms. Looking for international partners that can help in this process, the door is often open by international donor organisations. Governments benefit in this case from the financial resources and expertise offered. The model of governance that emerges combines local and international actors in complex project networks. The matching or conflicting interests of the players involved are of extreme importance.

The first player is the Donor for e-government development such as the United Nations Development Programme, The World Bank, the Organisation for Stability and Co-operation in Europe, the United States Agency for International Development and many others. These organisations support different e-government projects in different areas of the world, promoting the idea of democratic governance. Their aim is to stabilize those developing countries that participate in such programmes. The strategy often consists of bringing in systems and solutions that are best practices or proven to work elsewhere. The main challenge for them is adapting these systems in the local context. For this they have to work together with local partners.

The second player is the Government entering into an agreement with international partner organisations to develop e-government systems in a country. Their interest is that by using the financial and technical resources offered to them, to implement already tested systems faster and efficiently. These solutions are often adapted from elsewhere, most probably developed countries. They work in terms of information technology, but this is up to the local people who operate and offer them.

The third player is the End-User. They want better public administration services through e-government solutions, regardless if they are built in house or imported. End-users should be more involved in policy-making between the government and international organisations assisting such projects. Their final saying is the real measure of success, depending on the degree of adaptation and use of such e-government solutions. The challenge in this case is to capture their opinions for a new service that does not exist yet, before it is developed.

The information technology solution, part of the e-government reforms, is between the three players, shaping them but also being shaped by each of them. What forms of cooperation in one hand, or information technology solutions for e-government on the other are more sustainable? This is an easy question with no easy answer. Addressing it can start by focusing on the idea of governance for development in this whole process.

Endrit Kromidha

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  • Alejandro Ochoa Arias  On May 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    The way in which actors are identified in the task of defining e-government is also a constraint to be taken in account when considering the way in which IT technology can be used for enhancing governmental capabilities. In this regard, the shape of a tutoring role from the so called international agencies provides a path that could endanger the whole initiative in societies were other political processes are in progress. Therefore, it could be more academic an political challenge to start by addressing the field of forces shaping the way in which technology will become part of it. Infogovernment is in this regard, a more comprehensive concept to liberate it from the technical bias provided by the word “e”.
    In this regard, to define end-user as it is defined above is a concept which is overcome by the request to become a more active and co-responsible actor in the process of shaping not only technology but also, and probably more important, the way in which political games are played.

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