AJIC Issue 12, 2012

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This issue of the African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC) raises, in interesting ways, a number of issues that have become core to the debate about the role of new ICTs in the African context. The critical issue in relation to ICT is the potential of these technologies to advance democratic practices that enable wider participation in decision making, through interactive channels. As highlighted by the case studies from Zambia, South Africa and Egypt, e-government is not only about infrastructure, legal/institutional environments, and computerising government administration, but also very much about citizen engagement.

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 8
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    e-Government and the Cameroon Cybersecurity Legislation 2010: Opportunities and Challenges
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2012-12-15) Asongwe, Patricia Ngeminang
    The EGOV.CM programme, led by the National Agency for ICT (ANTIC) aims to promote access to government information and services, provide IT support to the public administration reform programme, promote the objectives of national policies and provide an appropriate legal and regulatory environment. However, government and citizen reliance on ICTs presents a security challenge, given the emergence of cybercrime across the globe. This requires changes tolegislation drafted before the electronic age. Outdated laws result in impunity, with the country a safe haven for cybercriminals, while e-government transactions may be unprotected and may therefore be discouraged. Cameroon’s e-laws of 2010 (cybersecurity and electronic communications) provide a legal framework for the protection of ICT networks and critical infrastructures, creating an enabling environment for e-government services. These research notes highlight the importance of the e-laws for effective Cameroonian public administration, and discuss the challenges for implementation of e-government
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    e-Government Lessons from South Africa 2001-2011: Institutions, State of Progress and Measurement
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2012-12-15) Cloete, Fanie
    Electronic governance is the future of public governance globally. Governments that do not make the transition from paper-based systems of public administration to electronic platforms of public governance may swiftly undermine their chances of developing their societies as 21st century information societies. At the turn of the century, South Africa started out as a leader in e-government among developing countries. A decade later, it has been surpassed by states that were much less developed. Why did this happen? Can the competitive edge that South Africa had 10 years ago be regained, and if so, how? This article summarises the strategic importance of the shift from paper-based public administration to electronic governance. It uses the Rorissa, Demissie and Pardo (2011) model of e-government assessment to analyse progress in South Africa’s migration to a digital state. It presents a perspective on institutional arrangements, the state of e-government and the e-barometer measurement approach. It discusses the reasons behind the decade-long stagnation in the South African migration to electronic platforms of governance and concludes by identifying the main policy and implementation lessons that can be learned. These lessons may have relevance to many developing countries, including those on the African continent.
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    SERVQUAL as a Socio-Technical Approach to Measuring e-Government Service Quality and Guiding e-Governance Strategies
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2012-12-15) Twinomurinzi, Hossana; Zwane, Mphikeleli Gabriel; Debusho, Legesse Kassa
    e-Government services and e-governance have been embraced in many African countries. Nonetheless, measuring the value of e-government remains a challenge. Key to a successful evaluation of progress towards e-governance is the contextual approach, in which ICT is embedded as part of a holistic solution to governance. When carried through without considering the complementary influences of society on ICT and of ICT on society, e-government services can lead to little added value, or even to an exacerbation of societal problems and lack of progress towards e-governance. Although much has been written on e-governance in Africa, few authors have extended the discussion to measuring quality of service and lack of progress towards e-governance. In South Africa, the Batho Pele (People First) policy of service quality is the contextual approach within which e-governance is embedded, because of its good governance attributes. This article relates Batho Pele to SERVQUAL, a framework widely used to measure customer service quality in the retail sector, and adapts the framework for measuring service quality in community e-government service centres, known as Thusong Service Centres (TSC). The analysis, using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), is consistent with what is known: service quality in TSCs is low and requires regular measurement and evaluation to inform future quality improvements. The article argues that an adapted SERVQUAL instrument, taking into account Batho Pele principles and situational context, can be used as a guide to innovation in e-government service delivery. It is an appropriate sociotechnical tool to collect data to inform e-governance strategies in African countries which share the same social context as South Africa.
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    Enabling g-Government in the Gauteng City-Region
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2012-12-15) Wray, Chris; Van Olst, Rex
    The term g-government, a subset of e-government, was first introduced in 2000 as the convergence of geographical information systems (GIS) and the Internet to create more effective government interaction with citizens. More recently, it has been revised to describe the combination of GIS and Web 2.0 technologies that can enhance government services and delivery. Most government data is spatially based and can be visualised and interpreted using a Web GIS mapping application, but this data is often not available to other government departments, or the general public, frustratingly so. In South Africa, problems with accessing spatial data continue to exist. The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) recognised that g-government remains a challenge within the Gauteng city-region (GCR), and in 2010 developed a GIS website for the GCRO and Gauteng Provincial Government. This article is presented in the context of the global shift to fully connected governments through technologies such as Government 2.0 and g-government. It provides a specific focus on the GCRO GIS website and how it enables g-government by providing local and provincial government with the spatial data and tools required to better understand the city-region, and to make informed decisions about future development in the city-region. The article also reviews Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) scores measured at the launch of the website. Finally, monthly website visits are examined. This confirms that local and provincial government are ready to utilise the g-government website.
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    Grassroots Community Participation as a Key to e-Governance Sustainability in Africa
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2012-12-15) Ochara, Nixon Muganda
    This article explores the theoretical sustainability of e-governance in Africa by assessing the nature of participation of stakeholders. It adopts an explanatory critique, drawing on perspectives debated in scholarly literature and based on reviews of country approaches. The exploration takes into account historical antecedents to participation in e-governance in Africa, revealing that dominant stakeholder interests effectively lock out the majority of citizens from active participation in e-governance, except as consumers of public services delivered through e-government. It considers the nature of attachment of stakeholders to e-governance projects. Global stakeholders increasingly have a low degree of attachment, while there is a relatively high degree of enrolment of local actors. The concept of e-governance remains solid, but is dispensable, since although government agencies have “embraced” the message of e-government, certain local actors are weakly mobilised. The policy process has failed to nurture the heterogeneity of actors, specifically grassroots actors, that is required for effective e-governance.