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E-Government development - what is the regional context we are plunged in?

The Survey on E-Government Development assesses the e-government development status of all United Nations Member States by measuring e-government effectiveness in delivering public services. Member states’ progress is tracked via the United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI), a composite index based on the weighted average of the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII), the Human Capital Index (HCI), and the Online Service Index (OSI).

From a regional perspective, the e-government trend differs depending on the state of online services provided in each region. If it is true that Europe has the highest average EGDI value (0.8602), it is also fair to admit that all the inspected countries have EGDI values above the global average with 81% scoring very high EGDI values (above 0.75).

Statistically speaking, Europe has topped the international charts since the inception of the E-Government Survey and has the most homogeneous e-government development. Of the 43 European countries surveyed, 35 are in the very high EGDI group, with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Sweden among the global leaders in e-government development. Asia increased its average EGDI value from 0.6373 in 2020 to 0.6493 in 2022, remaining the second most advanced region in e-government development. The levels of e-government development among individual countries in the region remain highly diverse, with the highest proportion of countries (47%) in the area in the high EGDI group. The Americas’ EGDI index is 0.6438, with 69% of countries in the high EGDI group. The United States is ranked highest among these countries, followed by Canada, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina. Like Asia, the Americas have experienced a significant increase of 15% in the proportion of countries in the very high EGDI group since 2018. On the other side of the globe, Oceania has an average EGDI index of 0.5081, and it is the only region that has not improved its value since 2020 (for the first time since 2016, its value declined by 3.6 %). Notwithstanding, Australia and New Zealand are among the world leaders in e-government development, with the remaining countries having EGDI values below the global average EGDI value of 0.6102. Finally, even though Africa’s average EGDI index (0.4054) scores lowest, the region has made the most notable progress, with a 3.6% increase in its average value. A breakdown analysis attests to how 4 out of 54 countries have EGDI values above the global EGDI average. Unfortunately, the remaining lustrum has values that are sometimes significantly lower, highlighting gaps in e-government development and the persistence of the digital divide as well as extremely high costs of mobile broadband subscriptions. Given the circumstances, new, adequate and tailored investments - especially towards the African region - must be incentivised for e-government to progress.

In conclusion, although the e-government development trend is growing, there are still significant differences depending on the region. Africa still has overall EDGI index values that are below the global average; moreover, the negative trend that has affected Oceania for the first time since 2016 has to be interpreted as a warning signal. What these statistics attest to is a possibility to find a negative trend in e-government development that must be necessarily identified and taken care of.

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