Digital Divide in Sub Saharan Africa: Implications for E-governance
The phrase ‘digital divide' has now come of age, having been conceptualized in the 1990s with various interpretations tied to it. Now, governments the world over are striving to bridge the digital divide in order to reap digital dividends in the social, economic and political spheres and lately to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Among the digital dividends envisaged is e-governance that would enhance citizens' engagement with their governments, service delivery, transparency, accountability, prudent management of public resources, and overall good governance. It is also expected that by bridging the digital divide, e-government will flourish to bring about faster access to government services, lower costs for administrative services, enhance greater public access to budgets and documents, make internal operations more efficient, and cut down complex and over-stretched bureaucratic systems. The link between bridging the digital divide and e-Governance need not be over emphasised as the implementation and sustenance of e-government systems are predicated upon efficient, pervasive and affordable information or ICT infrastructure, universal access and universal service principles. Simply put, e-government cannot be achieved in an environment of widening digital gaps. This paper discusses the institutional framework for bridging the digital divide in sub-Saharan Africa and the implications for e-governance and development.
Keywords: digital divide, Good governance, e-Government, e-Governance systems, sub-Saharan Africa, Digital dividends
ESARBICA Vol. 27 2008: pp. 39-71