African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382

Full Length Research Paper

Whose e-governance? A critique of online citizen engagement in Africa

Isaac Olawale Albert
Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 04 March 2009
  •  Published: 30 April 2009

Abstract

This paper takes a critical look at the state of e-governance in Africa from the supply and demand points of view. The supply side refers to the readiness of African states to practice e-governance while the demand segment refers to the capacity and motivation of citizens to force e-governance on their representatives in government, the paper reviewed the state of e-readiness in the continent and concluded that the continent is far behind the global standards. This problem is blamed in extant literature on the pervasiveness of poverty in the continent which makes the necessary infrastructure of e-governance to be lacking. The paper moved the debate forward by arguing that lack of infrastructure is not as weighty in the explanation of the problem as corruption and lack of the political will for e-democracy. The paper cited some examples to back up this argument. Citizens of African states are equally not able to boost the state of e-governance in their societies largely because many of them are still bugged down with how to ensure daily survival in the harsh social, economic and political environments under which they live. Efforts made by non-governmental organizations to open websites to promote deliberative democracy have led to different types of problems. To solve all these problems, the paper made three important recommendations, the dismantling of the secret state, the democratization of the concept of national security and the integration of the e-democracy processes within broader constitutional structures and debates of African states. 

 

Key words:  E-governance, e-readiness, e-democracy, supply, demand, secret state, national security.