Learner’s Submission: Bench-marking Tool – E-Government Development Index (EGDI)

“The UN E-Government Survey is the flagship publication of the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which is a published biennially starting from 2003 with an initial pilot publication in 2001. The latest publication for 2014 is themed: “E-Government of the Future We Want”.

The Survey assesses the progress of e-government development in all 193 Member States of the United Nations, as such, it is the only survey that comprehensively assesses such a wide scope of countries.

The Survey serves as a tool for decision-makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies. The UN E-Government Survey provides a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation.

UNDESA believes Member States’ e-government initiatives should be focused primarily on making progress in three core areas of e-government development, namely: provision of online services (Online Service Index OSI), telecommunication connectivity, Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, TII) and human capacity, Human Capital Index, HCI). Thus, through a composite index of the aforementioned e-government dimensions, an E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is generated that ranks all Member States.

The EGDI ranking is NOT designed to capture e-government development in an absolute sense, meaning, the ranking is not an affirmation that, for example; the top ranked country in the latest 2014 Survey, the Republic of South Korea[1], has attained the highest, ideal or “perfect” state of e-government development despite their consistent Number One status since the 6th Edition of the Survey (i.e. 2010, 2012, 2014), rather it is a comparison of Member States’ performance rating relative to one another for the period under review.

Indeed, a possible scenario is that, between now and the next ranking publication, Member States might continue to invest resources into various aspects of e-government development yet their ranking might remain the same, drop or move up, and this might be strictly dependent on the activity outputs and outcomes of programs being pursued by other nations.

Specifically, the EGDI is a weighted average of the three normalized scores of OSI, TII, and HCI.

  • Online Service Index (OSI): measures the online presence of government and the services provided to citizens online.
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII): measures through several indicators the infrastructure through which citizens can have access to the government online services.
  • Human Capital Index (HCI): measures the educational base of citizens that will allow them to access the government services online.

Thus, it uses a simplified function statement which has remained essentially the same despite changes in some indicators. This is due to changes in the underlying technology that drives e-government initiatives and innovations in the field.

EGDI = (1/3 OSI + 1/3 TII +1/3 HCI)

Data for the assessment is sourced from UNDESA-DPADM, ITU and UNESCO-UNDP for OSI, TII and HCI respectively. Beyond this core areas of e-government, the report also analyses the progress of e-participation, whole of government approach to e-government and open data programs among Member States of the United Nations.

The UN E-Government Survey report (link to report: http://unpan3.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2014 ) is especially relevant for Governments, Intergovernmental institutions, International and regional organizations, Academia, research centres and schools of public administration, Private sector, Civil Society organizations and concerned citizens.

As an e-government analyst, I find the UN-EGDI to be a very useful benchmarking tool in the areas of measuring e-government development, capacity development measures, policy recommendations to decision makers and understanding the best practices around the world.” – Franklin Ziggah – Accra, Ghana

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