E-Government for Development in Pacific Island States: Achievements and Future Directions
E-government can facilitate more efficient, transparent government and better communication between government and citizens; and in this volume we have been exploring the extent to which it has done so in Pacific Island countries. The chapter initially returns to the objectives of the volume and some of the questions posed in Chap. 1. It summarises the key findings of Chaps. 2– 13, accentuating the evidence of critical factors in e-government success that can be identified from these findings. This includes a discussion of the attributes of sustainability that are identified in the various chapters, and the five criteria of sustainability proposed in Chap. 1. The theoretical frameworks used in the study (Heeks ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto, his ‘design-reality gap’ and his work on E-Government for Development, and the ‘information ecology’ construct applied to e-government by Bekkers and Homberg) are revisited, and the extent to which these contribute to the analysis of e-government in the Pacific Islands examined. In the final sections of the chapter the focus shifts to e-government policy processes and the question of how well policy processes have contributed to some of the successful e-government initiatives outlined in various chapters in the book is addressed. The chapter, and the volume, conclude with some final reflections: acknowledging the achievements of PICs in ensuring that the basic technical, legislative, policy and regulatory infrastructure for e-government are in place; noting the challenges they have faced with their small economies, lack of resources, and the tensions created in balancing development with traditional lifestyles and forms of governance; emphasizing the need for PICs to build on their achievements to date by focusing on sustainable interactive e-government services that meet local contexts and needs, and using technology to enhance communication with citizens. The lessons learned in the study are applicable to all countries seeking to benefit from the application of ICT to make government more efficient, inclusive and accountable and enhance good governance.
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