Learner’s Submission: The Status of online public service in Ethiopia

“Despite the fact that the existing status of information communication technology is lower than many developing nations, its penetration and usage is steadily growing in the country. In 2009 there were 187,346 Internet subscribers in the country, and estimate put the number of internet user was about 500,000, which was the lowest rate in the world. But, in 2012 if we go by the number, there were more than 2.7 million of internet subscribers (including GPRS) and more than 3 million Internet users. This, however, does not show the exact number of the internet users in the country as it is not possible to figure out the clear cut number of internet users in public places such as Internet cafes, educational institutions, and work places. A more realistic estimate puts the number of users close to 4 million.

In addition to the expansion and development of ICT, the Ethiopian government has been trying to expand an electronic based service in the country. As a result, individuals and companies are able to present their request to obtain public services by filling out electronic forms and attaching the necessary documents from anywhere and anytime. Moreover, they can track the status of their requests using unique service request tracking numbers; arrange appointments with the service providing government organizations when physical presence is required; get periodic notifications through email and SMS; and provide their feedbacks for future improvements.

Totally, the FDRE Ministry of information communication and technology (MCIT) has launched more than 60 electronic transactional services in various governmental organizations. Moreover, the Ministry has a plan to reach the number of electronic service to 219 by 2015 as part of the five year plan started in 2011.

Currently, the major E-Government service rendered in Ethiopia is a Woreda (District) Net. It is an Ethiopian e-government network connecting more than 611 Districts with the primary objective to provide ICT services such as video conferencing, directory, messaging and VOIP, and Internet connectivity to the Federal, Regional and Woreda (district) level government entity. Another major e-government service rendered in the country is the School Net. It connects more than 550 high schools with VSAT-based broadband connection for delivery of video-based distance and standardized education. There are also other services that provide connectivity to the e Health, and Agri Net.

In addition to the service mentioned above, Ethiopia is on the way to provide national electronic ID cards to her citizens. By so doing, the country will raise the volume of public service rendered in the country. The electronic IDs are designed to contain fingerprints and principal residence of the individual, number and signature of the holder to identify the real identity of the card holder, and accordingly provide public service. It is, therefore, able to address both the need for identification and authentication of the cardholder in an online environment and physical world.” – Million Tolessa – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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