Electronic Records & e-Gvt in EAC

Rwanda Information Technology Authority – RITA, has made tremendous progress in ensuring diffusion of ICT to the rural areas like this telecenter in Eastern Province

As the the countries in the East African community (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania & Burundi) continue to solidify political and economic integration, ICT will continue to play a key role to the cause.

In fact Observers say, an ideal ICT environment is much more important than the roads that necessitate movement of goods across these nations. This is debatable, but cannot be dismissed. What are the East African countries doing to ensure that the ICT environment is suitable for modern business?

Already, Rwanda has shown lots of seriousness in this cause by enacting laws and investing heavily in the ICT infrastructure across the country. In fact, Rwanda has the fastest and most reliable Internet connection in the region and the availability of telecenters right into the villages has made internet accessible to most of the people in the rural areas who can read and write. These among many other initiatives by the Rwandan government is a direct intervention towards enabling the use of ICT in business. But it is more than that. It creates new avenues for administration and delivery of government services to the people: e-government.

Other Countries like Kenya and Uganda have come up with ICT policies but matters of infrastructure have been left virtually to the private sector. In Kenya, this is working. But there are problems or pains. There are no clear-cut guidelines on management of electronic records flying all over the Internet and the multitude of government websites. Preservation, access, and storage of electronic records is haphazard, there are few and loose (if any) guidelines and what has started as enthusiastic delivery of services to the citizens through the new ICTs may prove a ‘white-horse’ in the long term. Something should be done urgently. What needs to be done? What should be done?

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