High Level E-Governance Workshop at PAP Committee Sittings
The Transport, Industry, Communication, Energy, Science and Technology Committee of the Pan-African Parliament organized an E-Governance workshop on the 1st and 2nd March 2016 during the Committee Sittings in Midrand, South Africa.
Hon. Toure Douda Chairperson of the Transport, Industry, Communications, Energy, Science and Technology of the PAP opened the E-governance workshop and raised the issue that e-governance is a challenge for Africans. “ICT is a challenge for our continent as we suffer from high levels of illiteracy and bad governance” said the chairperson. “ICT has revolutionized the world making information available to large numbers of people. It helps with easy circulation of messages and information. ICT has expanded exponentially; it is an important tool for democracy and good governance” Hon Toure added.
E-governance will ensure effective growth of services, freeing people for better jobs. It will eventually lower costs in the business sector once it has been implemented. ICT is aimed to improve governance and the confidence of the citizen and e-governance should be placed at the center of reformation.
Hon. Toure Douda handed over to the President of PAP, Honorable Roger Nkodo Dang and indicated that this workshop on e-governance will speed up the infrastructure for Africa. ICT is a new culture which means that it has now become an extension of ourselves, we should be able to learn and adapt to the new ways, he said. E-governance widens channels of communication and empowerment of the community and the correlation between e-governance and stability becomes clearer. The President closed by saying that Africa is very much behind in terms of e-governance despite all the information that we already have at hand and this is due to the fact that governments need to improve in terms of transparency and accountability and more people still need to be educated in order for them to be able to appreciate these technologies. “PAP is here to represent the African people by promoting human rights, peace, strengthen solidarity, good governance, transparency and responsibility” the President further stated.
The President also emphasized that PAP has a high role to play in e-governance and members of parliament have roles to play in their respective countries, “It is our duty as members of parliament to learn about the challenges and prospects of ICT”.
Various experts were present during the workshop. Dr Towela Nyirenda Jere Principal Programme Officer at New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) made a presentation on Electronic Administration, where she emphasized that by 2020 about 50 billion things will be connected to the internet from services to infrastructure and content.
At the moment the internet is valued at US$20 trillion and the value will increase if people address the bandwidth concern by improving the quality and quantity. “At the moment as people in developing countries, we have minimal local content, we rely heavily on developed countries for information from other sources thus resulting in the internet being more expensive on our end” added Dr Jere.
The main aim is for ICT and ICT Infrastructure to cut across every aspect of the economy from agriculture to socio-cultural. E-governance focuses on how we use ICT in the public sector that is in service delivery whereas internet governance focuses on the way the internet is evolving. She closed her presentation by saying that in order for one to invest in something they need to see the relevance; therefore governments need to see the importance of e-governance in order for them to implement it in their countries. “As a continent we need to accelerate the pace of our development” concluded Dr Jere.