Towards an e-Government – Issues in Developing Countries

V. S. Venkatesan


Reflecting the growing importance of E-government, an increasing number of organizations and publications are starting to discuss issues relating to E-government in the developed world such as the impact of technology, accessibility of information, social divide or social exclusion. Despite efficiency gains in information delivery and on-line transactions, complex government processes are still evolving and face technological and nontechnological barriers [24] with the solutions being far from perfect [11]. Theoretically, E-government is ideal for developing nations because it can provide 24x7 access at minimal cost. However, attempts to implement Egovernment in the developing world have largely failed [5][30]. Successful small scale and short-term Egovernment initiatives from transitional countries have become ineffective in the long term largely due to the lack of a sustainable management model [26]. Several socioeconomic, political and governmental factors that are unique to the developing world can also restrict the scope and usefulness of E-government in these countries. In highly populated nations, E-government can have adverse impact on human resources and can substantially alter the social fabric. Apart from resource implications, scaling up E-government models to a large, poor population can also pose phenomenal management challenges. For example, implementing E-government in India with an annual population increase of 20 million is a complex task, well beyond the realm of current IT or ecommerce models. Further, the negative social consequences of E-government is a totally unexplored area and needs in-depth investigation. This paper examines E-government in the context of developing countries and discusses potential non-IT issues in its implementation.