Reflections on e-government services in Rwanda
When I first ventured into this unfamiliar territory of e-governance, I must admit that I hadn’t really heard about Rwanda. This adventure into the public administration space as a marketing Professor with research interests in African Entrepreneurship and its intersections with Marketing is thanks to two colleagues at the now AACSB accredited university of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
That debut article is entitled “ An initial assessment of e-governance and public sector marketing in the UAE “ published in 2013, and yours truly, it was just that — an initial assessment! Looking back to a decade and a half, it is my intention to provide not just my readers, but also myself, some key highlights from that article prior to going into the business of the day, which is all about “e-governance in Rwanda” — excerpted below:
The 2010 UN e-Government survey described [the process] as a “citizen centric practice” — analogous to’ e-commerce’, which allows businesses to transact with each other more efficiently (B2B) and brings customers closer to businesses (B2C) [with the view to making] interactions more friendly, convenient, transparent, and inexpensive at three distinct levels, between government and citizens (G2C); government and business enterprises (G2B); and government and government (G2G) (e.g., inter-agency relationships).
“… [the key message for] public administration [is on becoming more] transparent, faster and accountable [meeting] to societal needs and expectations through efficient public services and effective interaction between the people, businesses and government [i.e., through what is now generally accepted as] public sector marketing.”
Come in Rwanda — what’s the story?
The Irembo e-government services cover key areas from family, through identity, land administration, policing, health and education, to museums, governance, transport and museums.
In all these, however, and obviously nothing to do with rankings, but health, identity, and museums, stand out for obvious reasons. In terms of health, that sector has been acknowledged as one of the best in Africa. For identity, post the 1994 genocide and the kwibuka, no Rwandan is identified based on ethnicity.
Building on this de-ethnicisation, the Genocide Memorials dotted across the country, demonstrate the coming of age of museums management in the country. Drilling down further, the following summary might be useful those unfamiliar with what Rwanda has on offer as the acclaimed “first world” of the “developing world”.
In no particular order, the e-government services cut across:
- Family — notably certificate of residence; certificate of genocide survivors; certificate of “being single”; and certificate of “cohabitation”.
- Health — notably the Community Based Health Insurance (Mutuelle de Sante).
- Education — notably the application for equating foreign qualifications.
- Governance — notably NGO registrations.
- Land — notably e-payment services.
- Police — notably motor vehicle inspection, driving license exam results, and renewal of driving licenses.
- Immigration/Emigration — notably e-passport application processes.
So, there you go, Irembo.Gov to the world! As we aspire to bringing the “Africa we Want” narrative to fruition, it is my sincere hope that Africa (academics, policy-makers and other key stakeholders) are actually watching, and learning, from a well-established and articulated sibling, which also currently holds the revered office of the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office.
All said and done, it is my heartfelt hope that my peers in the “academe” begin to see the value of, not only “tasking”, but also challenging and nurturing students to “take on” this discourse to the next level through research.
Originally published at https://www.tekedia.com on July 18, 2022.