Building e-Governance Capacity in
African Countries
Gianluca Misuraca
Adviser, G&PA
Definitions and Basic Concepts:
a public organization – is part of a broader governance
system. It is a means to a goal.
These days, government is seen predominantly as a public
organization set up by a society for the purpose of
pursuing that society’s development objectives. This
comprises articulating the society’s development-related
demands, proposals and needs, aggregating them and
implementing responsive solutions. Enjoyment of public
consent constitutes the source of government’s legitimacy.
Transparency is a condition sine qua non for
government’s accountability vis-à-vis its oversight body.
(U.N. World Public Sector Report, 2003 - www.unpan.org )
Definitions and Basic Concepts:
the continuous optimization of Government service
delivery, constituency participation, and governance by
transforming internal and external relationships
through technology, the Internet and new media.
In particular, e-government technologies can improve
significantly the capacity of co-ordination among
different branches and bodies of government, and
communication among governments, citizens and
business. (Gartner Group: www.gartner.group.com )
Definitions and Basic Concepts:
is a multifaceted composed situation of institutions,
systems, structures, processes, procedures, practices,
relationships, and leadership behaviors in the exercise of
social, political, economic and managerial/administrative
activity into running of public or private affairs.
Good governance is the exercise of this authority with the
participation, interest, and livelihood of the governed as
the driving force
Definitions and Basic Concepts:
the adoption of a new conception and attitude of
governing and managing where participation and
efficiency are required of all the partners linked in a
network. e-Governance is therefore a new way of
coordinating, planning, formulating and implementing
governments decisions and operations. Governments can
utilize e-Governance to re-invent themselves, get closer to
the citizenry and forge closer alliances and partnerships
with diverse communities of interest, practice, expertise,
conviction and inter-dependence within the context of
national and international development agendas.
(CAFRAD, www.cafrad.org, and see also IADB www.iadb.org)
How to measure e-governance ?
In 2003, UNDESA/DPADM undertook a Global e-Government
Survey based on the following indicators:
1. e-Government Readiness Index: is a composite index
Infrastructure Index and Human Capital Index;
2. e-Participation Index: is a proxi to measure the willingness and
ability of a state not only to provide relevant information and
quality services, but also to engage citizens in dialogue in the
process of service delivery and, most importantly, in public
policy making through use of Internet.
(UN e-government Global Survey 2003, www.unpan.org).
In particular, the e-Participation Analysis resulted in the
following framework.
e-Participation Framework:
1. e-Information: Gvt Websites offer to citizens policies and
programme documents; budgets; laws and regulations; briefs on
key issues of public interest. Tools for dissemination of
information exist for timely access and use of public information,
including web fora, email lists, news-groups and chat rooms.
2. e-Consultation: Gvt Websites explain e-Consultation mechanisms
and tools. They also offer a choice of public policy topics on line
for discussion, with a real-time and archived access to audios and
videos of public meetings. The Gvt encourages citizens to
participate in discussions.
3. e-Decision-Making: Gvt indicates it will take citizen input into
decision-making and provides actual feed-back on the outcome of
specific issues.
(UN e-government Global Survey 2003), www.unpan.org
Results of the UN Global e-Government Survey 2003
The UN Global e-government Survey 2003, presented to the 5th
Global Forum on Reinventing Government (Mexico City, 3-7
November 2003) addressed three main conclusions:
1. No country or group of countries in the world owns the
monopoly on imagination, wisdom and committment or
political will for use e-government for the delivery of the
public value of human development. Original, advanced
content of e-government applications finds a home in the
geographic and developmental South, as it does in the North.
2. Only a very few Governments have opted to use e-government
applications for transactional services or for networking.
3. Even fewer Governments use it to support the genuine
participation of citizens in politics. Those who do, in most
cases, aplly it at a very rudimentary level.
(UN e-government Global Survey 2003, www.unpan.org)
Why (and How) introducing ICT in Government ?
Guiding Principles for Successful e-Government
Compelling reasons for the Government to use ICT in its
operations and to go on line (Priority needs that require
Government involvement; Efficiency and effectiveness as
key success criteria for government involvement).
Ability of the Government to use ICT in its operations: to
go and stay on line (Availability of -initial- funding; Skills
and Culture of the Civil Service; Co-ordination; Legal
framework; ICT infrastructure; Political Leadership and
long-term political committment; Public engagement;
Plans for development of human capital and technical
infrastructure; Partnerships; Monitoring and Evaluation).
Why (and How) introducing ICT in Government ?
Guiding Principles for Successful e-Government
Compelling reasons for the users of e-government to go
and stay on line:
Perception of added value;
Access and Skills;
Privacy and Security.
U.N. World Public Sector Report 2003: e-government at the
Crossroads, www.unpan.org
Why introducing ICT in Government, in Africa ?
The advent of Information Society is creating
unprecedented conditions for bridging the digital divide
through supporting government operations to strengthen
the establishment of efficient, effective and transparent
governance systems. Electronic tools can significantly
improve the services and information flows from
administrations to their constituencies. Communication
among administrations and citizens and businesses can be
enhanced and, at the same time, ICTs offer unique
opportunities for the re-use and exploitation of public
sector information within the emerging digital economy.
Bringing out this potential will create vast economic
opportunities for developing countries.
e-Governance in Africa: Justification
The introduction of digital, knowledge-based economy in
Africa would be a powerful engine for growth,
competitiveness and jobs, while at the same time improving
citizens’ quality of life.
The enhancement and/or building of the capacity of public
bodies and government agencies in the use of e-government
applications, promoting at the same time the accessibility of
businesses and citizens to internet and government services
on line (what can be called the e-governance capacity), will
improve knowledge through information availability, and
contributing to overcoming bureaucratic contradictions
within government.
e-Governance in Africa: Context
The scenario for integrating ICTs in Africa’s governance is
difficult and there are a number of technological and
human barriers that threaten the exploitation of ICTs.
A number of initiatives and projects on ICT development
in Africa are already under way. Many of the projects on
ICT development led by national, regional and
technological infrastructure and providing assistance
oriented to lower tariffs. New approaches aim to
incorporate socio-cultural dimensions “placing the citizen
at the centre of development objectives”.
e-Governance in Africa: Challenges
– Clear e-Vision
– Capacity and will to lead change
– Management and accountability structures
– Appropriate skills and attitudes available at all levels
– Availability of training programmes
– Entrenching a culture of increased information access
and transparency
– Commitment to high level team work
– Support for public service wide collaboration
– Change management initiatives
e-Governance in Africa: Challenges (cont’d)
– Liberalised telecommunications sector and effective
– Policy environment supportive of growth of ICT
adoption and use
– Policy frameworks that secure freedom of information,
privacy, security, intellectual property and copyright
– Arresting the “brain drain”
– Identification of critical processes as well as
– Process adaptable, integrated and open to innovation
– Monitoring and evaluation
– Identification and adoption of best practices
e-Governance in Africa: Challenges (cont’d)
– Access to ICT networks, services and equipment
– Development of local content in local languages
– Ensuring that programmes drive ICT
– Standard approaches to ICT infrastructure, to ensure
scalability and interoperability
– Privacy and data sharing
– Authentication
– Building user trust
– Support for the need for”e”
– Ownership across the board
e-Governance in Africa: Challenges (cont’d)
– Making information widely available to citizens
– Kiosks
– Call centres
– Consideration of people with disabilities
– Utilising a variety of channels, including those owned and
managed by the commercial and voluntary sectors
– PCs, interactive TV, cell phones, telephones/letters
– Ensuring that any new channels live up to high consistent
standards of trust , confidentiality, security an
(NEPAD e-Africa Commission www.nepad.org )
Some concrete initiatives on
Building e-Governance Capacity in Africa
1. United Nations Online Network in Public
Administration and Finance - UNPAN
2. e-Africa Initiative for Good Governance;
3. Digital Governance.org Initiative;
4. Innovation in the Public Administration in the
Euro-Mediterranean Region (InnovMed).
UNPAN: Mission
To promote the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best
practices throughout the world in sound public policies,
effective public administration systems and efficient civil
services, through capacity-building and cooperation among
Member States to bridge the digital divide, with emphasis
on South-South cooperation and commitment to integrity
and excellence: www.unpan.org
Since 2000, CAFRAD is one of the African On-line
Regional Centres of the United Nations On-line Network in
Public Administration and Finance - UNPAN
(www.unpan.org/africa.asp - www.cafrad.org )
In the framework of UNPAN, CAFRAD acts as regional
focal point on e-Information Management, promoting the
sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices
throughout Africa and supporting capacity-building and
partnerships among the Member States.
Mauritania Mali
Cap Vert
The Gambia
Guinea Bissau Guinea Burkina Faso
Sierra Leone
Central African
Togo Benin
Equatorial Guinea
Republic of
Sao Tome
South Africa
Implementation of UNPAN in Africa
The expansion of UNPAN to sub-regional and national
levels, as mandated by the General Assembly of UN to
DPADM/DESA, and involving Governments and other
African ORCs and sub-regional institutions, will play a
pivotal role in enhancing governance capacity in African
countries, in consistency with the framework of the Macro
Plan of NEPAD.
e-Africa Initiative for Good Governance:
Background and Justification
In 2002 CAFRAD launched the “e-Africa initiative”
with the aim to raise awareness on the role that ICT
can play in the development process.
The “e-Africa initiative” focuses on drawing on the
strengths in both good governance and ICT and
wishes to provide an important contribution to the
success of NEPAD’s overall vision on Africa’s
e-Africa Initiative for Good Governance:
Start-up and Implementation Activities
• e-Africa 2002: Regional Workshop on building e-governance
capacity in Africa, (Johannesburg, South Africa 28-31 October
www.e-africa.org.za) organised by CAFRAD in
partnership with UNDESA, and under the banner of NEPAD,
served as “Kick-off” meeting for the initiative: a “Framework
for Action” for its implementation was agreed by the partner
initiators of the conference.
• e-Africa 2003: Experts Consultative Meeting on building egovernance capacity in Africa, (Tangier, Morocco, 20-22
October 2003, www.cafrad.org ) organised by CAFRAD in
partnership with UNDESA and NEPAD, served to finalise the eAfrica Plan of Action and the strategy for its implementation.
e-Africa Initiative for Good Governance:
Political Committment and Institutional Framework
• Meeting of Ministers of Public Service, 1st November 2002,
Johannesburg: approval of the e-Africa Framework for Action;
• 4th Global Forum on Reinventing Government, 10-13 December
2002, Marrakech: presentation of the e-Africa Initiative;
• 4th Pan African Conference of Ministers of Public Service, 4-7
May 2003, Cape Town: approval of the Pan African Programme
on Governance and Public Administration;
• Meeting of the Pan African Committee of Ministers of Public
Service, 28 January 2004, Kampala, alongside the Workshop on
Public Sector Leadership Capacity Development for Good
Governance: presentation of the e-Africa Plan of Action.
e-Africa Framework 4 Action:
Inclusive and participatory African systems of good
governance that are capable of exercising their powers
and functions, delivering public goods and services
efficiently and effectively in a transparent and
accountable manner using ICT’s, to reduce poverty,
redress inequality, promote sustainable development,
foster security and fulfill social, economic, cultural,
civic and political rights.
e-Africa Framework 4 Action:
Strengthen the institutional capacity of the African
governance system, especially that of regional, central
and local government institutions, to improve policy
making, coordination and delivery of public goods
and services using ICT’s, in partnership with all
stakeholders, complying to high standards of
integrity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency,
accountability, and responding to the needs expressed
by their constituencies.
e-Africa Framework 4 Action:
Strategic Goals
1. Government as a catalytic force of social and economic
development, empowering its institutions through the use of ICT
to work together with civil society and private sector to meet the
needs expressed by their constituencies.
2. Accountable, efficient and effective processes for performing
government administration, reducing transaction costs and
enhancing policy coordination between the different government
3. Effective delivery of public services through efficient
administrative and financial systems, ensuring quality,
accessibility, affordability and sustainability.
e-Africa Framework 4 Action:
Strategic Goals (cont’d)
4. Increased capacity of Government to engage in participatory and
consultative decision-making processes with individuals,
communities and organizations, by simplifying and increasing
the interaction and transaction through the provision of on-line
services and channels of participation.
5. Reduce the space and time constraints between providers of
public services and goods and those that make use of these
through application of ICT.
e-Africa Framework 4 Action:
Strategic Areas of Support
1. e-Readiness
2. Enabling environment
3. Public participation and private sector engagement
4. Institutional capacity building
5. Monitoring, learning and knowledge management
e-Africa Plan of Action
Outlines the set of realistic activities that can produce positive impact
on political, economic and social governance in Africa, as specified in
the “Framework for Action”, and in pursuit of NEPAD priority
programs; it is guided by the following strategic principles:
a) Unleash the creativity of the African people and improve
their living standards and choices;
b) Meet national needs, as expressed by key stakeholders
(national governments, citizens, civil society and business
c) Support broader public sector reform and development;
d) Give new impetus to the democratisation process and good
e) Promote a peaceful and globally competitive Africa;
f) Globally promote Africa’s excellence and achievements.
e-Africa Plan of Action:
Immediate Actions
1. e-Africa Portal (at UNPAN-CAFRAD)
2. Communication Campaign
3. Capacity building
4. Knowledge-Sharing mechanisms
5. Promotion of bilateral and multilateral joint
e-government projects.
e-Africa Plan of Action:
Medium-Term Actions – National level
Assessment of community demand for e-government and, on this
basis, identify and select priority programs for implementation;
2. Assessment of ICT capacity development needs;
3. Establish an e-government-enabled national and local-level
networks of stakeholders;
4. Promote public dialogue and democratic governance;
5. Empower people by promoting and protecting their right to selfexpression;
6. Promote, protect and enhance human and cultural priorities;
7. Introduce e-governance programs based on agreed national
priority areas, using a phased approach;
8. National surveys of public goods and services;
9. Mechanisms for maximum dissemination and access;
10. Policy and Legal Framework;
11. Monitoring and Evaluation.
e-Africa Plan of Action:
Medium-Term Actions
Regional and sub-regional level
Ministerial Committee for e-Africa;
e-Africa Award Program;
ICT Technical Assistance and Monitoring Unit;
Sub-regional and regional e-government observatories.
All this, in consistency with the implementation of the NEPAD
PA&G Programme, under which CAFRAD has to take lead in
three pivotal areas, namely:
1. e-Governance;
2. Leadership Capacity Development in Public Sector;
3. Policy and Knowledge Exchange and Management.
Administrative Reforms and e-governemnt
Fully understanding the nature of ICT as a tool that can facilitate
the desired change and transformation in governance, but by
itself, cannot bring it about, the e-Africa Plan of Action calls on
the African governments to continue their efforts aimed at:
Development of a master plan for modernization of public
administration, especially with the view to simplify administrative
procedures; to make it results-oriented; to improve women
participation and status in the public service; and, to promote
professionalism and ethics in civil service within the framework of
the African Charter of Public Service;
Broadening of the social base for public policy decision making;
Demonstration of clear-cut commitment to the use of ICT in
government operations;
Introduction of systems for evaluation and quality control of public
Building Indigenous African ICT
Industry and Capability
The long-term success of the e-Africa Plan of Action will depend
on effectiveness of government efforts to:
1. Build and standardize a robust and upgradeable ICT
2. Promote development of indigenous ICT industry, including a
system of incentives;
3. Support local innovation, R&D, software and content
4. Employ African entrepreneurs and enterprises as preferred
contractors for design, building, production and delivery of
outsourced public services;
5. Encourage creation and support of ICT professional
6. Promote export of African e-government expertise.
Digital Governance.org Initiative
Recently it has been launched the DigitalGovernance.org
Initiative which encourage a global, virtual community of people
engaged in, or interested in e-governance applications in
developing countries: www.digitalgovernance.org
To encourage national-level knowledge exchange and mentoring
DigitalGovernance.org has initiated country-specific virtual
networks. The country-level networks would primarily deal with
issues and learnings that are relevant to their specific countries.
CAFRAD, considering its leading role in e-governance within the
NEPAD Programme, is considering the possibility to support the
establishment and coordination of the National Digital
Governance Network in a number of selected African countries.
Digital Governance Models
Based on primary experimentation and secondary research, some
generic Digital Governance models which are being practiced in
developing countries have been identified. All these models benefit
from the intrinsic characteristics of ICTs, which are: a) Enabling
equal access to information to anyone who is a linked to the
digital network, and b) De-concentration of information across
the entire digital network. The five Generic Models are:
Broadcasting / Wider-Dissemination Model
Critical Flow Model
Comparative Analysis Model
e-Advocacy/Lobbying and Pressure Group Model;
Interactive-Service Model.
Innovation in Public Administration in the EuroMediterranean Region: Innov-Med
The objective of the Programme is to contribute, through
the exchange of innovative ideas and experiences in public
administration, to the improvement of governance systems
in the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area with a view
to enhancing prosperity, peace and stability in the region.
The Project also intends to promote the progressive
harmonisation of public administration systems in the
Mediterranean area in line with the Barcelona process
established in 1995 as a means through which the European
Union supports Mediterranean partners in their political,
economic and social reforms.
Innovation in Public Administration in the EuroMediterranean Region: Innov-Med (cont’d)
The Programme is executed by DPADM/UNDESA with the
support of FORMEZ – Italian Study and Training Centre,
and financed by the Government of Italy.
For more information, visit: www.unpan.org/innovmed
CAFRAD is acting as Focal Point for North Africa and is
undertaking the First Phase Activity of Assessment of the
state of public administration in Morocco.
Despite the many indicators showing Africa at a disadvantage, the
potential for growth through integrating ICTs in the governance
systems are encouraging. In particular, the key issue is how to
build capacity to move towards an African knowledge-based
society that will allow the enhancement of the economic
performance of governments and public sector.
African countries can enormously benefit of the use of ICTs for its
effective development. In addition to a faster management and
analysis of the execution of decisions, ICTs can especially support,
at best, how each public administration intends to implement its
activities, in relation to budget allocation, and how it thinks it
ought to manage performance.
“……let us resolve to bridge the Digital Divide
between countries, between rural and urban areas,
between educated and illiterate populations, and
between men and women. And let us act urgently so
that all the world’s people can benefit from the
potential of the ICT revolution…….”
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the 2002
“World Telecommunication Day”
For more information:
Gianluca Misuraca

e-Africa - United Nations