Q&A: How e-governance can change Africa

Young women on a laptop in Rwanda. Photo by: Mike Goren / CC BY

ABIDJAN — As Africa becomes increasingly digitally connected, the introduction of e-governance could be a tool that increases government efficiency, accountability, and transparency.

Countries such as Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Mauritius have already introduced national ICT policies that established centralized information data centers as well as installing a national fiber-optic backbone network that increased internet accessibility and affordability. Their ICT strategies recognize the sector as an enabler of socioeconomic development, political decentralization, and sound governance.

Technology experts in Estonia — a place where 99 percent of all public services are available online — argue Africa could be the next frontier for e-governance, leapfrogging traditional governance infrastructure in a way that was seen with the explosion of mobile technology on the continent. However, national governments still need to address barriers such as underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructures, limited political support, and low literacy rates.

“In Estonia, it all started four years after our independence [in 1990] when there was the idea of creating an information society, this government data backbone,” explained Riho Kurg, product manager of Cybernetica, the company responsible for creating Estonia’s e-government solutions and e-voting technology. “It was a good time to take the best technology and start integrating agencies and people already saw back then that [it] is mandatory to have a digital identification and with that it’s possible to do so many things,” he explained.

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About the author

  • Christin roby

    Christin Roby

    Christin Roby is the West Africa Correspondent for Devex. Based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, she covers global development trends, health, technology, and policy. Before relocating to West Africa, Christin spent several years working in local newsrooms and earned her Master of Science in videography and global affairs reporting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her informed insight into the region stems from her diverse coverage of more than a dozen African nations.