Building e-Governance for Development: A Framework for National and Donor Action

Richard Heeks


As noted in a related paper, information and communication technologies have a valuable potential to help meet good governance goals in developing countries. Yet that potential remains largely untapped to date. Why? Because of poor human, organisational and technological infrastructure and because of the inappropriate approaches taken by donors, vendors and governments.

This paper hopes to point the way forward by describing the contents of a National e-Governance Initiative (NeGI) for developing countries that would address the problems of the past and would grasp the opportunities provided for governance by the new connectivity. Over a short- to medium-term timeframe, an NeGI aims to help deliver the following outcomes:

  • Awareness and commitment to e-governance at a high level.
  • A set of key e-governance institutions that can strategically plan and facilitate e-governance projects.
  • New laws and regulations that enable e-governance.
  • A national e-Governance Strategy.
  • The operational capacities to implement e-governance pilot projects.
  • A set of e-governance pilot projects focused on 'networked government'.

The paper places a particular emphasis on the potential contribution of donor agencies to such an Initiative. Principles, impacts, risks, priorities and other issues relating to e-governance initiatives are also described.

View/download options

You will need a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat (downloadable from Adobe) to view PDF file(s). PDF files open in a new window.

Educator's guide

Synopsis questions

  1. What key objectives and principles underlie a National e-Governance Initiative ? [part A]
  2. What is a National e-Governance Initiative? What might it consist of? [part B]
  3. What key issues need to be considered in planning a National e-Governance Initiative? [part C]

Development questions

  1. What is presented in the paper - a process or a blueprint?
  2. If you wanted to promote the concept of 'i-governance', how would you go about it?
  3. Imagine you are charged with organising a National e-Governance Summit. What would you actually do? Include consideration of how exactly you would convince senior officials and politicians to support e-governance.
  4. Are vendors part of the problem or part of the solution vis-a-vis e-governance for development?
  5. Review the content of some donor-funded e-development programmes. Is it fair to say that they have ignored government?
  6. What e-governance priorities would you set for pilot projects, and why?
  7. What evidence can you find to support the need for hybrids? How could you create hybrids for e-governance?
  8. In developing a proposal for e-governance, is it better to be optimistic or realistic?