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World Bank moves to improve e-governance in Africa

Michael Malakata | March 1, 2011
Bank approves over $44 million in additional funding for Ghana's e-governance project.

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA (07/08/2010) - In a bid to increase the deployment of electronic systems for governments and promote transparency in government processes in Africa, the World Bank has approved over US$44 million in additional funding for Ghana's e-governance project.

The World Bank has already given eastern and southern African countries about $424 million to expand e-governance systems in the region.

The Ghana e-governance project is expected to lead to the creation of a national data center in public administration, designed to give citizens the opportunity to directly communicate with public institutions. The program has been designed to generate growth and employment by leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) to accelerate development projects.

"The project will further enhance the accountability and transparency of government financial operations using ICT based tools," said the bank in a statement last week. The funds were released through the International Development Agency, a lending arm of the bank.

The World Bank funding is supposed to help Ghana establish a business process outsourcing center and position the country as a destination of choice for IT businesses.

In addition, the funds will help create a strategic innovation center chartered to speed up the diffusion of ICT in underserved areas. The project ensures decentralization of access to electronic services at district levels, according to the World Bank country director for Ghana Ishac Diwan.

The World Bank hopes that e-governance projects will help curb corruption in the awarding of IT supply contracts funded by the bank.

Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Burundi are already implementing e-governance projects after receiving funding from the World Bank. More than $164 million was allocated to Burundi and Madagascar by the bank. The bank released $4 million to the Kenyan government to support online content generation for the government and the private sector.

The World Bank announced its e-governance project fund in 2007. The program was created after calls by various governments in the region requesting funding from the bank for telecom infrastructure.


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