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POGAR > Activities and Projects > GfD > E-Government

Theme 2: E-Government and Administrative Simplification
A number of Arab countries, for example Dubai, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan, have started to develop and implement policies on e-government, which is an important tool that can help to promote transparency and accountability and contribute, at the same time, to improving competitiveness. Successful e-government relates to the overall governance framework and requires that reform is undertaken not only at the level of information technology but in the entire environment that determines the local governance culture.

Arab countries are also increasing efforts for administrative simplification. One of the most common complaints raised by business and citizens, both in Arab as well as in OECD countries, is the quantity and complexity of government formalities and paperwork. The costs imposed on the economy as a whole are significant and red tape is identified as a key barrier for economic development. In response to these challenges, governments have increasingly focused on reviewing and simplifying the bureaucratic burden, but there is a need to improve the effectiveness of policies that have been initiated.

Challenges:

  • How to promote e-government in view of a social and urban/rural divide to ICT?
  • How to ensure that e-government does not become a stand alone process and not part of a cross-cutting and strategic modernization process of the government?
  • How to deal with privacy as well as security issues.
  • How to address the heavy financial implications of investments in e-government?
  • How to overcome inter-ministerial barriers to a whole-of-government approach to e-government, as well as the fear the e-government will initiative an avalanche of subsequent organisational changes?
  • How to deal with the reluctance of administrations to provide clear public information on their services, as a precondition to set up those services on the net?
  • How to overcome technical/organizational difficulties related to the central/local interface.
  • How to achieve interoperability and openness of system, in view of providers tending to offer captive technological solutions?
  • How to overcome administrative barriers and red tape that are deeply engrained in many administrations?

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Theme Highlight

This Framework for Policy Dialogue includes priority issues gleaned from international experience in order to serve as a guide for policy discussion. Working Groups in Arab countries may find them useful; countries may change or add their own priority issues.

See also the Results and Recommendations of this Panel's meeting during the Dead Sea Conference 6-7 February 2005.