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Welcome to our new column: “ICT Success Stories”. The work of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) includes bringing to the attention of policy-makers, governments, industry, academia and the general public issues relating to the broader telecommunication and information technology environment.
As part of the preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in Geneva from 10 to 12 December 2003 and in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005 (see, ITU’s research and analysis unit, the Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU), is gathering and publishing success stories from around the globe on information and communication technologies (ICT). These stories serve to illustrate projects that have successfully deployed ICTs in various fields and in innovative ways. As well as showing grassroots level, real-life implementation of new technologies, the projects are valuable in promoting the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.
“E-Government” is the first in our series of “ICT Success Stories”, which can also be found at

From the United States to Cape Verde, governments around the world have embraced ICTs, specifically the Internet, as a means to streamline public sector processes, while providing citizens with easier access to government services. These increased information flows between the public and private sectors has helped to establish an environment of trust and reliability between citizens and elected officials in many parts of the world. Moreover, most ministries responsible for ICTs and modernization initiatives have began to realize the importance of establishing a national strategy for becoming a part of the global information society and narrowing the gap between the information “haves” and “have-nots”.

Insights: Governments around the world have embraced ICTs as a means of making their operations more efficient and transparent. Moreover, the digitization of public service information has, in many instances, made government agencies and officials more accountable. While many governments in the developing world have only just begun to modernize dated institutional structures, successful implementation of ICTs have proven to be an effective instrument for connecting disparate government communication networks at every level. By giving people a voice, albeit electronic, ICTs have also significantly increased the participation of a country’s citizens in public decision-making. As a number of public demonstrations, such as those in Belgrade in October 2000 and the Philippines in 2001 have shown, ICTs give citizens a louder and powerful voice in national and international dialogue on governance. In both these cases, the short message service (SMS) and the Internet were widely used. Whether they are streamlining the provisioning of government services or empowering populations, ICTs have become a prerequisite for modern governments the world over.

ICT stories from the field

  • Democracy and short message service

Gayan de Oro earth station

ITU 800251/
Administration of Philippines

Short message service enables mobile phone users to send short text messages to each other. In the Philippines, for example, users are responsible for about 10 per cent of total global SMS traffic (or 50 million SMS messages per day), making Filipinos the largest society of SMS users in the world. In early 2001, Filipinos used SMS to coordinate the demonstrations called “People Power 2”, that eventually led to a change of government. (See also:

  • An unlikely visionary

In Cape Verde, when the Government realized that it needed computers and the Internet to modernize public sector processes, RAFE soon became a key driving force for the country’s ICT revolution

ITU 030043/Vanessa Gray

The Reforma da Administração Financeira do Estado (RAFE), which was tasked by the World Bank to implement public sector and civil service reform in Cape Verde, was not originally intended to be an ICT-related project, but ended up computerizing government. When the Government realized that it needed computers and the Internet to modernize public sector processes, RAFE soon became a key driving force for the country’s ICT revolution. RAFE’s services and training led the agency to increase its staff from three technicians to over fifty within two years, and now serves over 20 government agencies with some 2000 users. One of RAFE’s key objectives is to make government more transparent and “user-friendly” by driving an e-government initiative that will afford all Cape Verdeans access to the Internet. (See also:

  • Local e-governance in India

The SLIDE project in India has evolved into what is now known as the Information Kerala Mission and seeks to computerize and establish a wide area network (WAN) to connect the 1215 local governing bodies throughout the State government

ITU 030081/Siemens

Beginning in 1997 with the State-level Informatics System for Strengthening the Decentralized Plan Implementation (SLIDE), government decision-makers throughout India realized the important role that ICTs would play in modern governance. Focused on creating efficient and responsive mechanisms for governance at the local level, the SLIDE project employed a variety of ICTs to help local institutions mitigate the transition to a decentralized governing system that is unique to the State. The project, which has evolved into what is now known as the Information Kerala Mission, seeks to computerize and establish a wide area network (WAN) to connect the 1215 local governing bodies throughout the State government. (See also:

  • Singapore’s e-Citizen

School children enjoying their lessons with the Supplementary Materials and Revision Tutorial (SMART) programme, one of the services available on the Singapore videotex system

ITU 910008/Singapore Telecom

Launched in 1999, e-Citizen has become one of Singapore’s most important and successful e-government initiatives. E-Citizen is an Internet portal created to provide Singaporeans with a single, organized access point to all government services. It is organized according to “life events” rather than by ministry or department, covering such areas as family planning, education and recreation. Beyond providing citizens with a central window to government services, e-Citizen has also helped facilitate improved coordination between disparate government agencies. E-Citizen was created by the Ministry of Finance and is managed by the Info-Communications Development Authority. (See also:

  • Modernizing Malaysia’s Government

The 421-metre Telecom-
munication Tower in Kuala Lumpur, with its television and microwave antennas

ITU 990073/Jean-Marie Micaud

Malaysia’s e-government initiative, similar to that of many other governments around the world, is designed to create a paperless public sector, while also strengthening relationships with citizens and businesses through greater transparency and information flows. The Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) seeks to enhance the use of ICTs and has mandated that each government agency create an information technology (IT) strategic plan to help facilitate greater communication between agencies and the public. This includes the Smart Partnership Application Repository (RAPP), the Government Integrated Telecommunication Network (GITN) and a virtual private network (VPN) that connects all government agencies throughout project implementation processes. The incumbent carrier, Telekom Malaysia, and the Malaysian Civil Service Link, which contains a listing and links to most government agencies, are at the centre of the country’s e-government initiative. (See also: MAMPU’s IT Strategic Plan website at, or consult ITU’s Malaysian Internet Case Study at CS.pdf)

  • Regulatory reform and universal access in Brazil

ANATEL headquarters in Brasilia

ITU 980105/
Bizerra, BGPress 

The Brazilian telecommunication regulator, ANATEL (Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações), has employed a variety of mechanisms to equip Brazilians with access to useful information to help improve their socio-economic status. Not only does the regulator provide visitors to its website with a chart of the cheapest telecommunication service rates, which are provided by each network operator in the country, but it also engages the public in formulating national telecommunication sector policies. ANATEL has also created a Fund for the Universalization of Telecommunications Services (FUST) to help connect the nation’s schools and hospitals to the global information network. (See also:

  • E-government in Egypt

View of the Nile in Cairo

ITU 940057/Egyptian Tourism Office 

In 1999, the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) organized Egypt’s first conference on IT, at which the Government laid out a five-year plan to bolster ICTs in the country. Following the conference, the Government created a new Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) to oversee the evolution of Egypt’s knowledge society. From developing human resources to promoting domestic software development and international alliances, MCIT’s plan sought to draw on both the public and private sectors to modernize many of the mechanisms in Egyptian society. Some USD 338 million was allocated to the programme through 2002. While MCIT has taken the lead in promoting ICTs throughout Egypt, government services are being coordinated through the national portal at (alhokoma means “government” in Arabic). The IDSC, MCIT and other ministries are constantly working on new initiatives to digitize government content to both promote public use of the Internet and streamline processes for administering government services. (See also:

ITU 010570/PhotoDisc

If you have feedback or comments on these or any other “ICT Success Stories”,
 please contact the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit at:



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Updated : 2003-07-23