Direct effects of e-government include cost effectiveness in government and public operations, significant savings in areas such as public procurement, tax collection and customs operations, with better and continuous contacts with citizens, especially those living in remote or less densely populated areas.
Indirect effects are no less important, and include greater transparency and accountability in public decisions, powerful ways to fight corruption, the ability to stimulate the emergence of local e-cultures, and the strengthening of democracy.
These are among the reasons why e-government, after spreading through developed market economies, has now become a priority in an increasing number of developing countries. Around the world, significant resources are being mobilized, as well as additional human resources and energies, to develop, implement and promote the use of e-government. However, since such resources remain scarce in regard to the immense tasks of socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation, it is essential that they be used wisely and with a maximum chance of success. Benefiting from other countries’ experiences, understanding their successes and failures, and adapting that knowledge to the characteristics of one’s socio-economic environment will be vital to the future of e-government in many parts of the world.
This handbook is a first attempt to bring together key resources and examples of best practices from around the world and to provide an operational tool to help e-government practitioners move as swiftly and efficiently as possible through the three stages described here, namely: publishing, interacting, and transacting.