Asian countries are below average in e-government readiness: UN Survey

January 8, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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Zafar Anjum
Computer World Singapore
http://computerworld.com.sg/ShowPage.aspx?pagetype=2&articleid=7332&pubid=3&tab=Home&issueid=122

The latest United Nation’s (UN) survey, measuring the readiness of member countries to adopt e-government, has found that many Asian countries are falling behind western nations.

India, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand have not kept up with other countries.

The UN E-Government Survey 2008, based on assessments of 192 U N member states, also shows software programming powerhouse India dropping 26 notches to 113 (down from 87th place in 2005), and the Philippines ranking 66, down from 41 in the 2005 index.

Even though Singapore continues to lead the region in the latest index, it fell from the seventh spot in 2005 to the 23rd in the overall international ranking. Thailand has also suffered, sliding six spots from its 2005 ranking of 62.

However, other Asian countries, such as Cambodia, China, Japan and Malaysia have improved their positions. China has jumped to 20th position, up from 50th place in 2005.

But South Korea steals the limelight as it has emerged as the only Asian country to make it to the top 10 list, clinching the sixth position.

The UN has also highlighted the republic’s strong performance in the area of e-participation, or involving citizens in government programs and services. South Korea has been ranked only second to the US on this score.

In this year’s global e-government readiness rankings, European countries made up 70 per cent of the top 35 countries while the proportion of Asian countries was just 20 per cent.

“A large part of the success of the European countries has been their investment in infrastructure and connectivity, most notably in broadband infrastructure,” said the report.

“There were large differences between the five regions in terms of e-government readiness, with Europe having a clear advantage over the other regions, followed by the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa,” the report noted.

Asia and Oceania were slightly below the world average while Africa lagged far behind.