Seychelles’ e-government initiatives hailed | 16 March 2012
The survey is carried out by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs which works in three main interlinked areas.
It compiles, generates and analyses a wide range of economic, social and environmental data and information on which member states of the United Nations draw to review common problems and to take stock of policy options.
It also facilitates the negotiations of member states in many inter-governmental bodies on joint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges; and it advises interested governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in United Nations conferences and summits into programmers at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.
The Global e-Government Development Reports and Survey present a systemic assessment of how governments use information and communications technology (ICT) to provide access and inclusion for all. Each survey offers insights into the different strategies and common themes in e-government development among regions and across them. By studying broad patterns of e-government use, it identifies countries, which have taken a leadership role in promoting e-Government development and those where the potential of ICT for development has not yet been exploited. The aim of the United Nations e-Government Survey is to assess whether countries are deploying e-government for inclusion-for-all.
E-Government development is a function of not only a country’s state of readiness but also its technological and telecommunication infrastructure and the level of its human resource development, among other factors, and at a minimum should be based on the level of all three. E-government initiatives, however sophisticated, are unlikely to contribute significantly to development if they reach only the privileged few.
With an e-government development index value of 0.5192, Seychelles is ranked 84th overall at world level and is ranked 1st in Africa, ahead of Mauritius (0.5066), South Africa (O.4869), Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde, Kenya, Morocco, Botswana and Namibia.
According to the UN report on the survey, a 160-page document (which can be viewed at http://unpan3.un.org) in 2012, Seychelles undertook further consolidation of infrastructure and its e-government development. Major improvements in government information systems, infrastructure, and integration of thematic services in finance, health, and many other sectors allowed it to improve its world ranking.
It also notes that the government of Seychelles took the initiative to enhance its e-government service offerings in line with an integrated and interdependent strategic approach, which focuses on ICT infrastructure, government information systems, legal framework, and human resource development, to improve the efficiency in delivery of government services.
In Seychelles, the government organisation responsible for the implementation of e-Government initiatives is the Department of ICT (DICT) which is a portfolio under the Vice-President’s Office. The principal secretary (PS) responsible for this department, Benjamin Choppy, commented that the ranking serves as an encouragement to the work being undertaken by his staff and also serves as an indicator that strategy being followed in this area is in the right strategic direction.
He points out nevertheless that “…there is still much to be done for us to reach where we have set our objectives to be”.
The United Nations has recognised that the aim of our government is to make “Seychelles globally competitive, with a modern ICT enabled economy and a knowledge-based information society where strong, efficient and sustainable improvements in social, economic, cultural, good governance and regional integration are achieved through the deployment and effective application of ICT”.
The key challenge for the e-government development of Africa, according to the UN, remains the widespread lack of infrastructure and functional literacy. Despite recent expansion in mobile telephony, most countries in Africa remain at the tail end of the digital divide. These challenges have translated into a lower than world average e-government development for all sub-regions.
The United Nations e-government survey 2012 finds that many governments have put in place e-government initiatives and information and communication technologies applications for the people to further enhance public sector efficiencies and streamline governance systems to support sustainable development.
Among the e-government leaders, innovative technology solutions have gained special recognition as the means to revitalise lagging economic and social sectors.
The overall conclusion that emerges from the 2012 survey in today’s recessionary world climate is that while it is important to continue with service delivery, governments must increasingly begin to rethink in terms of e-government
An important aspect of this approach is to widen the scope of e-government for a transformative role of the government towards cohesive, coordinated, and integrated processes and institutions through which such sustainable development takes place.
Seychelles has improved 20 places compared to 2010 when it was ranked 104th worldwide.
Contributed by DICT