Essay: E-GOVERNMENT BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

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Abstract’E-government aims to offer services the country’s’
communities both in public or private sectors by using
the ICT tools to reduce the cost and times by eradication of
manifestations of routines and bureaucracy. All countries
around the world are seeking to implement and diffuse egovernment
services, especially the developing countries,
and to do that they have to overcome a range of factors that
prevent the effective implementation of e-government in the
countries.
This paper discusses and analyzes E-government topics and
revolves around the most important factors behind the success
of this program, and tries to analyze and study the Egovernment
program in Finland as a developed country,
and Saudi Arabia as a developing one. It aims to find out the
most important strategies that have been used to overcome
the challenges; these factors & strategies, including such as
infrastructure, technical, social, political and cultural in
order to study some of these factors in each of them and try
to make a comparison between to contribute to the success
of the program in other developing countries, as well as to
beneficial from developed country’s experiences in this field.
The reason behind selecting Finland and Saudi Arabia is the
qualitative leap made by both of them, especially Saudi
Arabia as a developing country and their success in the program
with a record time.
Index Terms’E-government, Successes Factors, Developed
Countries, Developing Countries.
I. INTRODUCTION
E-government has become one of the vital topics in all
over the world; all countries have started applying egovernment
in their governments,’ even developing countries.
As it is known, all countries began focusing on this
topic because it serves all citizens in the country. Moreover,
it will save the country a lot of money, achieve
greater progress, exploit the time and effort of the public
sector employees, provide accurate and timely completion
of transactions, alleviate the pressure on the workers and
facilitate suffering and fatigue on the citizens in various
places and cities in any country [13].
The increasing of using this topic started with the ICT
revolution. This revolution has increasingly encouraged
changes in many aspects related to people daily life
around the world, and is also changing the way in which
governments around the globe interact with their citizens,
businesses, government agencies, employees, and other
stakeholders [2].
In general, these changes are rapidly being referred to
E-Government Generally, E-Government, as a new and
emerging area of interest in the field e-businesses employs
ICTs to enhance the access and delivery of government
information and services to citizens, businesses, government
employees, and other agencies. To this end, more
governments around the globe have been inspired by these
enormous changes and swift advances in ICTs: raising
hopes to reduce operating costs for both businesses and
citizens; providing citizens and businesses with more convenient
access to online government services; improving
the quality of government services’ delivery; and increasing
effectiveness and efficiency in the public sector organizations
[8].
According to some international reports and studies, Egovernment
has become important to national and international
communities, providing these communities with
many potential opportunities to improve the quality of
government services to citizens. Citizens should be able to
get services or information in minutes or hours, versus
days or weeks. Citizens, businesses and governments
should be able to file the required reports without having
to hire accountants and lawyers. Government employees
should be able to do their work as easily, efficiently and
effectively as their counterparts in the commercial world
[16].
II. METHODOLOGY
A. Problem
Most of the previous studies on E-government topics
were focusing on its importance, the advantages and constraints
to citizens, business, government and its employees.
This paper will analyze the main factors which play a
significant role in the success of E-government program
and trying to know the probability of successfully applying
e-government program in the developing countries,
which have similar conditions to the developed countries,
with comparing all these feasibilities with one or more of
developing countries specially because these factors play a
big role in the success of this program and in the developed
countries.
The main problem of this paper will be focusing on the
study and analysis of these factors through these factors.
This study highlights the problem of developing countries,
which are suffering, and trying to absorb and overcome
the political, cultural and social transformation with the
benefit of scientific and technological advances, by comparing
with developed countries in the field of E- government
and ICTS tools. The paper will analyze case studies
through answering some questions relating to this topic
such as:
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E-GOVERNMENT BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
‘ What are the factors that can support the design,
creation and implementation of an E- Government
program in the developed country such as (infrastructure,
technical, political, cultural, and social factors)?
‘ Can a comparison be made in the E government field
between developed countries and developing countries?
B. Purpose
‘ Highlights the developed countries experience in the
field of E-government.
‘ Attempts to make a comparison between developed
and developing countries and attempt to benefit from
developed countries experience.
‘ Identifies the main success factors, which play a big
role in the E-government of developed countries.
C. Data Analysis (Qualitative)
This paper uses the qualitative data analysis through
analyzing some previous studies which are related to the
e-government in developed and developing countries in
various countries around the world wich is focusing on
Finland as a developed country and KSA as a developing
country; in order to highlight the main strategies, factors,
and challenges by comparing e-government program between
them, identifying the best strategies and factors in
order to overcome these challenges as well as using these
strategies and success factors to enhance and improve egovernment
performance in the other countries.
III. E-GOVERNMENT OVERVIEW
A. Litterature Review
This part of this paper explains the definition of Egovernment,
the importance of E-government, the main
partners of government and factors which play a significant
role in the success of an E-government program according
to most of the international initiatives in Egovernment
field, especially in the developed countries.
E-Government defined as the electronic interaction
transaction and information exchange between the government,
the public sector, citizens, businesses and employees
in order to access to efficient and effective service
delivery [5].
According to the E-Government Strategy [7], EGovernment
defined as using ICTs systems to transform
relations with citizens, business sector, government agencies
and employees to promote the empowerment of citizens,
improving service delivery and enhance accountability,
increase transparency, improve government performance
efficiency.
E-government is the continuous improving quality of
service delivery, improving the participation inside government,
through using the information technology tools,
the Internet and the ICTs applications. This includes Government
to Citizen, Government to Employee, Government
to Business, and Government to Government. This
means the relation between them internal relations like
government to government and external relations like a
government to business and citizens [8].
According to, all previous studies in the E-government
topic E-government can be defined as a set of mutual
processes between government and citizens, government
and business, government and employees, and according
to what they mentioned above, the government could directly
provide electronic services via the internet; To improve
services for citizens in order to increase effectiveness
and efficiency in the public and private sector in the
country. This means E-government aims to use the internet
applications in order to provide, access to all electronic
services which they need.
B. E-Government Partners
According to, all previous definitions for E- government
we are noting that there are several partners with Egovernment
in its process including two internal and external
partners, each of them able to benefit from these
services those partners are [16]:
‘ Government to Citizens (G2C).
‘ Government to Business (G2B).
‘ Government to Government (G2G).
‘ Government to Employees (G2E).
C. E-Government Benefits
There are several benefits for E-government programs;
any country is looking for achieving these goals or benefits
in order to serve all partners in the countries. These
benefits are summarized as a following [3]:
1. Cost reduction and efficiency gains: through using
all internal and external services online that means
decreases the processing costs of many activities as
well as will increase the government efficiency.
2. Quality of service delivery to businesses and customers:
E- government mean to enable access to all services
by using the internet, as well as services online
will enhance reducing the bureaucracy process inside
the government, improving the procedures and offering
fast and convenient transactions.
3. Increase the capacity of government: E-government
aims to use ICT tools to support organizations to organize
their work inside and outside the organization,
leading to greater efficiency, effectiveness and further
improve the type of services provided in the public
sector or the business sector, as well as assistance
in making decisions.
4. Network and community creation: E-government is
seeking to create an atmosphere of interaction between
all partners in e-government through the exchange
of information on a network and an integrated
and harmonious community.
IV. CASE STUDIES ANALYSIS
A. Factors Affecting E-Government In Developed &
Developing Countries
Through access to United Nations reports in the egovernment
field [16], it is noticed the presence of a huge
gap between developing and developed countries in the egovernment
field, and we will highlight those differences
on several key factors analyze throughTable I.
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E-GOVERNMENT BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
TABLE I.
COMPARING DIFFERENT FACTORS BETWEEN DEVELOPED &
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES [4, 9]
Developed countries Developing countries
Infrastructure
Good current infrastructure
& High internet
access for employees
and citizens
Bad current infrastructure
& Low internet
access for employees
and citizens
History and
Culture
Government and economy
developed early,
economy growing at a
constant rate, productivity
increasing, high
standard of living, long
history of democracy.
Government usually not
specifically defined;
economy not increasing
in productivity, economy
not growing or increasing
productivity; low
standard of living, short
history of democracy
Technical
Staff
Has a current staff,
needs to increase technical
abilities and to hire
younger professionals.
current staff would be
able to define requirements
for development
Does not have a staff, or
has very limited in house
staff, current staff may
be unable to define
specific requirements.
Citizens
High Internet access and
computer literacy; still
has digital divide and
privacy issues, more
actively participate in
the governmental policy-making
process.
Low internet access and
citizens are reluctant to
trust online services; few
citizens know how to
operate computers, less
active participation in
the governmental policymaking
process.
Government
Officers
Decent computer literacy
and dedication of
resources; many do not
place e-government at a
high priority.
Low computer literacy
and dedication of resources;
many do not
place e-government at a
high priority due to lack
of knowledge on the
issue.
B. Analysis Of The E-Government Program In Finland
According to the World Bank report [10] on Egovernment,
Finland is considered one of the best countries
in all over the world in E-government applications; it
has good infrastructure such as ICT tools, technical methods,
human resources system, and cultural and social history.
For that reason, any developing country will benefit
from Finland’s experiences in the E-government field.
This part of the study is explained and represented briefly
some factors behind Finland E-government succeed, Table
II explains the factors’ challenges which faced Egovernment
in Finland and the best way to overcome
these challenges
According to, previous template, it represented all the
Finland government efforts to having best E-government
program. Finland has best technologies in the Egovernment
field can be summarized by [14]:
‘ Electronic ID card was created in 1999 in order to all
Finnish citizens to get the public infrastructure service
its valid for three-year citizens be able to use it
as a traveling ID card, E banking, and insurance ID
card in the 19 countries of European Union.
‘ Digital signature is agreement between Finnish government
and Estonia government to improve the
harmonies of the concepts and practice regarding on
digital signature and documents format and exchange
between two countries according to European legislations
as well as international standard.
TABLE II.
E-GOVERNMENT CHALLENGES FACTORS IN FINLAND
Challenge &
barriers factors
in Finland
Overcome strategies in Finland
Political, Legislative
and
regulatory [6]
For access to E- government program effectively,
the Government enacted rules and regulations to
implement the program and political decisionmaking
in order to coordination between ministries
and government departments and standardization
of procedures and regulations to facilitate
the passing of information and data as well as
government has found a set of policies and regulations
for the protection of information and electronic
data.
Public reform
imperatives
[11]
One of the most important factors in the Finland
government was reforming public administration
to improve public services, the aim of this strategy
to build a framework in order to introduce Egovernment
and to improve public administration
services by reducing transaction costs and creating
an open information system. Reform was
focusing mainly on the decentralization & ICT
tools system.
Promotion of
the information
society [12]
Finland’s government has long information society
from 1970s. Finland’s government started
identifying this strategy in1990. It was including:
Information technology and information networks
in order to renewal PPS. The information industry
became an important sector of economic activity
in Finland. Everyone had the opportunity and
basic skills to use the services of the society information,
Finnish information infrastructure to
be competitive and capable of providing highquality
services.
Human Resource
Management
HRM is the most important factor in any project
in the organizations. for that reason, one of the
successes’ factors in the E-government of Finland
is the Government’s interested in human resources
, designs and development of all methods
and means for that success, as well as the government
concerned with training and rehabilitation
workers in order to find a suitable system for
workers and the restructuring of salaries and
incentives..
Budgetary &
finance barriers
[12]
One of the biggest challenges, which face any
project, is a financial obstacle. This factors that
the Government had scoffed where the Finnish
part of its budget for the e-government program
paved the infrastructure in the ICT field, change
public administration and put the budget in order
to increase the incentives for all Access to electronic
services to all parts of the Finland.
Digital divide
[14]
One of the most important factors that were playing
a big role in Finland E- government is digital
divide. Finland has been doing well in terms of
providing access to ICT, particularly the internet,
and possession of information technology still
differ markedly across generations, family types
and regions. Rural connectivity projects have
strengthened collaboration among municipalities
and fostered partnerships between public and
private actors, as in other countries with high ICT
penetration, closing the digital divide in Finland
now seems to depend increasingly on citizens’
own choices. In addition to improved access and
cost, computer and the internet use will depend
on citizens’ perceptions of the value-added of
online services. Thereby further raising the stakes
for improving e-government.
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E-GOVERNMENT BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
‘ Citizen portals are lunched in 2002 as a single access
to all public information , public forums and services
‘ ID card for E-government employees: this service
started in Finland in 2006. These photo cards included
qualified certificate enabling identification to
log into information networks, including users’ usage
rights, e-mails and other documents and providing
them a binding and undisputable signature.
‘ KuntaIT is a new card that was created by the interior
ministry. It will be tasked with coordinating the compatibility
of e-government services between municipal
and regional authorities.
‘ Wap site for Finnish travellers was created by the
ministry of foreign affairs in order to draw on travel
safety information published in a website. It can be
used by mobile to provide all information, which are
easily displayed by the ministry.
‘ The combined electronic ID, for health insurance
card, was created in 2004 in order to allow to all Finnish
citizens request their insurance data by using ID
card.
C. Analysis Of The E-Government Program In KSA
Several factors were taken into account to measure the
success of the e-government program in Saudi Arabia,
such as: political, social, cultural and legislation factors.
These factors are analyzed and explained precisely the
extent of its contribution and how to surmount in order to
reach a successful program [15, 17]:
V. E-GOVERNMENT VISION, STRATEGIES & OBJECTIVES
IN KSA
E-government vision in KSA represented [17]:
By the end of the year 2010, the ultimate vision of the
e-Government in KSA in the ability of any Saudi citizen
access to all services needed by the electronic ways and
secure means:
Figure 1. Saudi Arabia e-government vision [17]
VI. E-GOVERNMENT OBJECTIVES
There are a set of important goals, any e-Government
program aims to reach to these goals, and some of these
goals are summarized as a following [17]:
‘ Raising the public sector’s productivity and efficiency.
‘ Providing better and more easy-to-use G2C services
for individual citizens and G2B for business customers.
‘ Increasing return on IT investments.
‘ Enhancing the integrity and readily access of government
data.
TABLE III.
E-GOVERNMENT CHALLENGES FACTORS IN KSA
Challenge & barriers
factors in KSA Overcome strategies in KSA
Social and Culture
factors
KSA is considered the largest Arab, Islamic
country. It is the first reference to all of
them because it includes the Islamic sanctities;
the culture in KSA is preventing the
work of Saudi women beside men at the
same places, but by using ICT tools, Saudi
Arabia overcame this problem by making
the dealing between them electronically
through using the application of egovernment,
even in outside the scope of
the work; women can access to any service
that is electronically. Moreover, some people
are claiming that technology have disadvantages.
Here we can exploit the positive
aspects and leave the disadvantage
parts, as well as KSA was suffering from
the problem which is the tribal system in
their dealings with citizens in all ministries
and departments, through using of the egovernment
program KSA overcame all of
these traditional phenomena such as helping
the relatives and friends in their services.
Economic factors
The second success factor in any experience
for e-government, which it needs to take in
the consideration, is the economic factors in
any country because these factors are playing
a big role in the success of this project.
Saudi Arabia has an important resource. It is
oil. The existence of this economic factor
contributes significantly to the success of
the program and in any other country may
have an economic factor contributing to
improve and enhance e-government program.
Reforming the
Public Sector:
E-government team in KSA has taken this
factor into their consideration when they
started building E-Government Program.
The importance of this factor is the need to
create any change in the public sector, for
example, to apply any new technology or
changes within the organization, such as Egovernment
implementation in the country
that is based on providing services electronically
by using ICT tools. We need to
equip the public sector and its employees by
training in order to use this new technical,
to deal with citizens and customers by using
best way as well as to accept the idea of
change. In the case, the most prominent
things that have been taken in the Egovernment
experiment are changing the
regulations and rules in order to implement
these changes.
Political factors
These factors are playing an important role
in all parts of the country’s policies and
strategic plans, political factors, including
some sub factors such as change of radical
regulations and rules inside the countries to
enhance the implementation of any new
strategic or plan, for example, the implementation
of ICT tools in the organizations
in order to apply E-government program
inside the country as well as need to assist
employees within the organizations and
facilitate the implementation procedures.
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E-GOVERNMENT BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
KSA E-government program includes three main projects
[17]:
‘ E-payment gateway: It aims to facilitate electronic
payment between governments to business, business
to business as well as payments between government
and citizen.
‘ Smart card: It is a digital system or chips aims to
store all citizens’ data by using thumb prints such as
an ID card, health and driving records.
‘ MOI: it is a portal in which the citizens can obtain
identification cards and passports as well as the driving
license and any certificates may be required by
citizens.
VII. DISCUSSION
Through analyzing previous cases in Saudi Arabia and
Finland and access to the most important challenges, those
developing and developed countries in e-government in
order to highlight the most important of those factors that
have faced both of them, as it highlighted the social, cultural,
political factors and public sector reforming.
Moreover, previous analysis highlighted the most important
success factors and strategies that have contributed to
overcome, including to find strong infrastructure, taking
into account the importance of the social and cultural
changes in order to implement the e-government program.
As well as the analysis focused on the using of scientific
methods, technical change and analyzed the most
important e-government strategies which are using to enhance
e-government performance, as well as previous
analysis highlighted the results and electronic services
resulting from these programs, such as electronic portals
at the internal and external of the country.
We are noting that both of them have faced challenges,
for example, Finland has faced barriers, challenges, but it
was able to overcome these challenges by used modern
technical. It started with the education system in order to
overcome the cultural, social challenges by reformed
Finland’s education system as well as it overcame technical,
political factors by found some rules and regulations
in order to improve and enhance Finland e-government’s
program.
Finland has the modern e-government program it is one
of the best e-government programs around the world, and
all the developing countries may benefit from Finland’s
experiences in this field.
About e-government in KSA, The main strategic plan
for KSA e-government focused on building a strong infrastructure
and strategy to be able to absorb all the changes
in the E-government field and this strategy based on the
provisions of the interdependence of all ministries and
organizations in the country.
This strategy included two phases. The first one included
two years has been aimed to achieve quick results
based on reducing the time and effort, And the second one
has included a period of five years has included the identification
of the most important goals and identified the
main electronic gates, priorities, major policies, and regulations
[15, 17].
The project implementation aims to electronic governmental
services deliver and a coordinating based on linking
all ministries and government departments based on a
decentralized in order to provide services and oversee the
implementation of these strategies called (yesser). This
project is responsible for the e-Government Program implementation
in Saudi Arabia.
One of the main important strategies of the Saudi Arabia
E-government program is (governance protects). Tis
policy, which is responsible about all E-government data
and information input, as well as the ability to deal with it
by users in order to create a good mechanism to protect
the implementation of electronic transactions; such as the
availability of models and forms of service.
This policy is based on an integrated program aims to
policy development in order to reach to protect information
security, update some information, documentation,
risks protection policy in order to protect data and information
electronically, face technological progress in the
IT fields include these risks, the loss of confidential data
or lack of it, as well as the organize of information security
policy, Human resources policy includes the appointment,
training of personnel, change the duties of work, as
well as the policy of entry included the ability to enter
some information, optimal use and knowledge of e-mail
services, mechanisms for encryption and password storage
mechanisms, physical security policy, environmental policy,
management of communications, policy of processes,
information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
policy [15].
According to previous analysis, there are several success
factors, strategies that are playing a big role to improve
E-government performance in the developed and
developing countries. Each country has to take in the consideration
these factors in order to build the e-government
program. These factors are including e-government infrastructure,
exploitation and improving employees capabilities
inside governmental organizations, developing educational
systems and Government officers, as well as there
are several challenges have faced both of countries relating
to previous factors such as political, social, cultural,
technical, reforming public sector and human resources.
Each country must overcome previous challenges in order
to enhance, improve e-government program in their government.
VIII.CONCLUSION
E-government can be greatly affected by several important
factors, such as political, cultural and religious factors.
These factors must be taking into account and analyze
thoroughly, especially when we are looking for efficient
and successful implementation of an e-government
program in developing countries.
Previous analysis of these factors has been through the
analyzed e-government program in Saudi Arabia as a developing
country. This study described a range of benefits
and lessons learned in the field of capacity utilization and
to manage successfully. These factors like what Saudi
Arabia has done to overcome these challenges by benefit
from developed countries experiences these factors summarized
as a following [1]:
‘ As a Political factor, Saudi government has to enact
rules and legislation necessary to implement the egovernment
program, such as E-government the formation
of a special committee to follow up on top of
implementation and facilitate the formation and development
of vision, strategies and policies to protect
private data and information electronically either at
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PAPER
E-GOVERNMENT BETWEEN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
the level of public sector restructuring the Government
has developed a strong rules-based ICT tools
and computerization systems and institution and linking
them with each other and connected.
‘ Religious social factors, in Saudi Arabia, are preventing
women to work with men in the same place but
KSA has overcome this factor through the implementation
of e-government through the provision of services
via the Internet without the need for mixing between
men and women as well as to be able to citizens
to access to all services by using the internet applications.
‘ Cultural factor has been exploited by the Saudi government
through supporting and improving education
system as well as computing devices and distribute of
free PCs and all citizens able to connect free to the
Internet.
Each developing country can utilize this work in the
same region to benefit from developed countries experience
in order to implement their e-government program,
especially those who are suffering from similar challenges
derived by the previous mentioned factors.
As it is noted, developed countries have advanced egovernment
levels of organizing and co-ordinations epically
in their public sector infrastructure, public sector
reforming, social and cultural factors. These advantages
can be usefully for other countries, by studying same challenges
and trying to find suitable solves for their egovernment
programs’ challenges by benefits from KSA
experience.
REFERENCES
[1] Al-Hakim L., Global E-government: Theory, Applications and
Benchmarking, University of South Queensland, Australia, published
in Hershey PA, London, 2006.
[2] Al-Omari A., ‘E-Government Readiness Assessment Model,’
Journal of Computer Science, vol. 11, no. 2; pp. 841-845, 2006,
ISSN 1549-3636.
[3] AL-Shehry A., ‘The Motivations for Change Towards EGovernment
Adoption: Case Studies From Saudi Arabia,’ EGovernment
Workshop ’06 (eGOV06), Brunel University, West
London UB8 3PH, UK, September 11 2006.
[4] Chen Y., Chen H., Ching R., and Huang W., ‘E-Government
Strategies in Developed and Developing Countries: An Implementation
Framework and Case Study,’ Journal of Global Information
Management, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 23-46, 2006.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/jgim.2006010102
[5] Cullen A., Elsheikh Y., and Hobbs D., ‘E-Government in Jordan:
Challenges and Opportunities,’ e-Government Workshop ’07
(eGOV’07), U.K., 2007.
[6] Eifert M., and Puschel J., National Electronic Government: Comparing
Governance Structures in Multi-layer Administration,
Routledge, 2004.
[7] Executive Office of the President Office of Management and
Budget, E-Government Strategy, Washington, D.C. 20503, February
27, 2002.
[8] Fang Z., ‘E-Government in Digital Era: Concept, Practice, and
Development,’ International Journal of the Computer, the Internet
and Management, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 1-22, Thailand, 2002.
[9] Furuholt. B., and Fathul, W., ‘E-government Challenges and the
Role of Political Leadership in Indonesia: the Case of SrFuruholt,’
Proceedings of the 41st Hawaii International Conference on System
Sciences, pp. 7-8, Norway, 2008.
[10] infoDev, E-Government Handbook for Developing Countries,
The World Bank; 2002.
[11] Jussilainen M., ‘Knowledge Management at the Finnish Government:
Now, Never or Later,’ Proceedings of the 67th IFLA Council
and General Conference, Boston, August16-25, 2001.
[12] Leitner C., ‘eGovernment in Europe: The State of Affairs,’ Presented
at the egovernment 2003 conference-como, Italy 7-8 july,
2003.
[13] Ndou V., ‘E’Government for Developing Countries: Opportunities
and Challenges,’ EJISDC: The Electronic Journal on Information
Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 1-
24,2004.
[14] OECD, Governance of Innovation Systems, Case, 2006, ISBN
9264035710.
[15] Sahraoui S., ‘Government In Saudi Arabia: Can It Overcome Its
Challenges?’ E-Government Workshop ’06 (eGOV06), Brunel
University, West London UB8 3PH, UK, September 11 2006.
[16] United Nations, ‘E-government Strategy Report;’ New York,
2002.
[17] YESSER, ‘E-government guidelines manual for government
agencies,’ Saudi Arabia Kingdom, e-government program Riyadh,
January 14, 2007.

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