In this sequel post, I will look at the various components of the UNDESA e-government index and then introduce the EIU democracy index to explore potential interlinks between the two,
The e-government development index (EGDI) comprises three distinct components 1. Online services. 2. Telecom infrastructure. And 3. Human capital. While the last two are obtained from external data sources (ITU, UNESCO, UNICEF), the first one is directly developed by the UN. A combination of website checking and a questionnaire sent to UN member states is used to generate the required data – albeit the data is not publicly available. The e-participation index comes from the same source.
The telecom index relies on user access to the Internet, mobiles, analog phones, and broadband. The human
Running on the coattails of the now infamous dot-com bubble, e-government first saw the light of day before the end of the last Millennium. At that time, where hype overtook the tech scene yet again, adding ‘e’ (as in electronic) to almost any theme became quite fashionable. First in the scene was e-commerce (and e-business) which foreshadowed the 1994 launching of Amazon, among others, followed by its successful IPO three years later. Surely, governments could also master the emerging digital technologies to improve their core functions while fostering increased efficiency, transparency, and accountability. Most governments in industrialized countries quickly jumped into the e-government wagon while emerging economies such as Estonia, Singapore, and South Korea were determined not to
The first time I ever visited Guyana was in July 1997. Back then, I was working for UNDP, running a global project called the Sustainable Development Networking Programme, SDNP, whose primary goal was to promote access to information via the use of new technologies such as the Internet. At the time, the Internet was still in its early stages, and not many people were aware of the internetwork, never mind using it. My visit, supported by both colleges and competent Guyanese experts, was to launch the first ever public (and free!) Internet center in the country. Part of the job was to get a dedicated connection between the site, which was hosted by UNDP Guyana but had a separate and independent entrance, and the local ISP, GTT.
All required equipment had previously been purchased in the US