ICTs – cost-effective and convenient means to promote transparency and to reduce corruption

The combination of e-government, social media, Web-enabled technologies, mobile technologies, transparency policy initiatives, and citizen desire for open and transparent government are fomenting a new age of opportunity, which has the potential to create open, transparent, efficient, effective, and user-centered Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-enabled services. And what is more, the governments, the development agencies and organisations and citizen’s groups are increasingly linking investment, governance and support to create a more open and transparent government. There seldom is such an alignment of policy, technology, practice and citizen demand — all of which bode well for the creation of technology-enabled government that in stills the trust of citizens in the government.
However, there are technological challenges such as technology development, technology access and literacy. Even in the most developed country like the US, nearly 40 per cent of households still do not have internet access (US Census Bureau, 2009). The digital divide is long documented, and broadly defined as the gap between those who have access to technologies and those who do not.
Such being the case, it is of importance to promote technology literacy, usability, accessibility and functionality. Looking beyond the technological issues, the researchers points to two critical success factors — a culture of transparency embedded within the system of governance and a transparency “readiness” factor, i.e., the factors like technology perpetration, technology capabilities and access of government agencies, and social and technology readiness of the populace (Brown & Cloke, 2005, Kolstad et al 2009). These two factors are essentially two sides of a coin — one needs the culture of openness to permeate governance structures and operations while simultaneously needing the technical and social capabilities to truly implement e-government transparency initiatives. Without the two factors operating in tandem, it is highly unlikely that the essential trust between the government and the governed will develop and thus truly create an open and transparent environment. In a nutshell, ICTs are cost-effective and convenient means to promote openness and transparency as well as to reduce corruption.

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