E-government - another chance to leapfrog?

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Much has been made of the example of some developing countries leapfrogging the adoption of outdated technologies, for example with the adoption of mobile banking. One has to wonder whether that could be the case with e-government, at least for a handful of countries. A new report out from Brookings reports on Improving Technology Utilization in Electronic Government around the World, 2008 (Hat tip: Giulio Quaggiotto). The author ranks governments around the world on the quality of their outreach through websites, tabulating things like online information, electronic services, and disability access. While OECD countries are well-represented among the highest ranked, a number of other contenders made it into the top 20, e.g. Brazil, Dominica, Malaysia, and Ghana. In fact, these countries were all ranked higher than France, Portugal, New Zealand, and the UK!

The report also notes that high-quality government websites can have multiple types of benefits:

Nations such as Bulgaria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic are attracting overseas investors through their websites.

Of course, the utility of these kinds of services is limited by the number of computers connected in any country. And there are large discrepancies in different parts of the world, with 19.2 internet users per 100 people in Europe and Central Asia, compared to 3.8 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 13.8 in the Middle East and North Africa, and 4.9 in South Asia. (This data is available through the World Development Indicators.) But a country like Malaysia, which has over 43 internet users per 100 people, suggests that some economies can see big benefits from investing in these kinds of initiatives. 

Update: I just noticed that Daniel Kaufmann has a very interesting post on Governance-on-the-Go, aka GonGo, here. (He also tosses out the term Web 3.0. I haven't even quite put my finger on the definition of Web 2.0 yet! Where will it all end?)


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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