Despite years of anarchy, Somalia has a successful ICT sector, providing one of the most cost-effective voice and data service in Africa. More than 2 million people make their way into the internet and the onset of COVID-19 pandemic and measures imposed to contain the spread of the pandemic has exacerbated the use of the Internet. The COVID-19 crisis has also brought new needs for digitalization of public and private services to the citizens. With increasing availability and quality of internet connectivity as well as new communication technologies in Somalia, private sector has been moving into the digital and embraces new digital services every-day. Many services are available online today such money transfers, transportation, food delivery and shopping.

With realization of fast growing Internet, digital information technology and Somalia has the cheapest data in Africa where 1GB of data costs $0.55 on average, ranked top seven in the world. Mobile money is the primary access point to financial services in Somalia where 73% of the population over the age of 16 use mobile money services according to the World Bank Report in 2017. With all these developments, Somalia ranks 191th worldwide in adoption of the e-government system according to a recent survey published by the United Nations in 2020.

More and more often, people see no reason why public services should be paper-based and that government does not take advantage of growing Internet connectivity and new technologies to transform its public services. Despite of development of first ICT Policy and Strategy 2019-2024 to facilitate Somalia’s digital transformation, local authorities still rely on legacy systems in a time of 89% of the people would like to see digitization of government services. Due to limited advocacy and concentration, the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve better delivery of government services to citizens is the least progressive area, and there’s little chance of meeting ambitions laid out in the country’s ICT Policy and Strategy.

With support of Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Bareedo Platform organises a roundtable discussion for Mogadishu Municipality’s officials, commissioners of Mogadishu’s districts, academia, media and other important stakeholders in Mogadishu, Somalia. The main objective of this discussion is to advocate and push for Mogadishu Municipality to adopt e-governance practices and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve better delivery of government services to citizens, empower citizens through access to information, and improve interactions between citizens and public officials.

Mohamed Abokor, Director of Bareedo Platform says “There is no excuse and hesitation to stay at paper-based era while we have a good Internet connection and that 80% of our population has mobile phones. We need to come up something that can pave a way to the adoption of e-governance practices in Mogadishu”

In this discussion meeting, officials will know more about e-government concept and also examples of cities that successfully adopted e-governance. And after, they will have an open discussion focusing on adopting e-governance system at Mogadishu Municipality, how to be adopted and implemented the digitization of public services and the challenges surrounding to the process. The discussion is also expected to address the challenges and barriers that residents and Mogadishu Municipality encounter on the process of effective and efficient service delivery in the face of continued insecurity and political instability weights particular to Mogadishu.

At end of the meeting, Bareedo Platform will produce a detailed report covering entire discussion and hope that this will add weight on ongoing efforts to encourage government to digitize its services.

Electronic Governance or E-Governance is the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for providing government services, interchange of statics, communication proceedings, integration of various independent systems and services. Through the means of e-governance, government services are made available to citizens in a suitable, systematic and transparent mode. The three main selected groups that can be discriminated in governance concepts are government, common people and business groups.

E-governance is the best utilization of information and communication technologies to mutate and upgrade the coherence, productivity, efficacy, transparency and liability of informational and transnational interchanges within government, between government agencies at different levels, citizen & businesses. It also gives authorization to citizens through access and use of information. Generally, E-governance uses information and communication technologies at various levels of the government and the public sector to enhance governance. Theoretical studies
state that E-Governance is the procedure of change of the correlation of government with its ingredients, the citizens, the businesses and between its own organs, through the use of tools of information and communication technology.

The UNESCO states, E-governance is the public sector’s use of information and communication automation in order to upgrade information and service delivery, stimulating resident involvement in the decision-making process and making government more liable, unambiguous and productive.

Elements of E-Governance:
Basic elements of e-governance are:

  1. Government
  2. Citizens
  3. Investors/Businesses

Types of E-Governance:
E-governance is of 4 types:

  1. Government-to-Citizen (G2C):
    The Government-to-citizen mentions the government services that are acquired by the familiar people. Most of the government services come under G2C. Similarly, the primary aim of Government-to-citizen is to supply facilities to the citizens. It also helps the ordinary people to minimize the time and cost to carry out a transaction. A citizen can retrieve the facilities anytime from anywhere.

Similarly, spending the administrative fee online is also possible due to G2C. The facility of Government-to-Citizen allows the ordinary citizen to outclass time limitation. It also focuses on geographic land barriers.

  1. Government-to-business (G2B):
    The Government-to-business is the interchange of services between Government and Business firms. It is productive for both government and business firms. G2B provides access to pertinent forms needed to observe. It also contains many services interchanged between business sectors and government.

Similarly, the Government-to-business provides timely business information. A business organization can have easy and easy online access to government agencies. G2B plays a important role in business development. It upgrades the efficiency and quality of communication and transparency of government projects.

  1. Government-to-Government (G2G):
    The Government-to-Government mentions the interaction between different government departments, firms and agencies. This increases the efficiency of government processes. In G2G, government agencies can share the same database using online communication. The government departments can work together. This service can increase international discretion and relations.

G2G services can be at the local level or at the international level. It can convey with both global government and local government. It also provides safe and secure inter-relationship between domestic or foreign government. G2G builds a universal database for all members to upgrade service.

  1. Government-to-Employee (G2E):
    The Government-to-Employee is the internal part of G2G section. It aims to bring employees together and improvise knowledge sharing. It provides online facilities to the employees. Similarly, applying for leave, reviewing salary payment record and checking the balance of holiday. The G2E sector yields human resource training and development. So, G2E is also the correlation between employees and government institutions.

Advantages of E-Governance:
The supreme goal of the e-governance is to be able to provide an increased portfolio of public services to citizens in a systematic and cost effective way. It allows for government transparency because it allows the public to be informed about what the government is working on as well as the policies they are trying to implement.

The main advantage while executing electronic government will be to enhance the efficiency of the current system.

Disadvantages of E-Governance:
The main disadvantage regarding e-governance is the absence of fairness in public access to the internet, of trustworthy information on the web and disguised agendas of government groups that could have impact and could bias public opinions.