e-Government Communications Strategy LaunchedAug 2, 2017
Digital technologies continue to unlock great prospects across the world as governments embrace the power of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to bring about the positive socio-economic transformation for the people. After the development of an e-Government Strategy which was succeeded by the commissioning of a UN-funded study, “Electronic Government for Swaziland: Assessing the Opportunities”, His Excellency the Prime Minister, Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, has launched the e-Government Communication Strategy. Prime Minister described the launch held at the Royal Villas Hotel in July 3, as a “defining moment of change”, that will move the country to the next level in the programme to apply digital technology in Government processes. “We need to maintain pace in our developments in the digital sphere while at the same time ensuring that the e-Government foundational requirements are consistently in place and meeting international standards,” he said. The strategy was presented as an important tool to promote and market e-government services to the public to allow extensive use of the services and presenting to citizens and the business community, the benefits brought by technology. “Harnessing the knowledge economy using ICTs to drive national innovation, entrepreneurship and public service delivery has opened new opportunities for Governments. This is indeed a great milestone,” the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Israel Dessalegne, said in his remarks. The UN Resident Coordinator cited the launch of the mobile-based Government services in June 2015, piloted through the Ministry of Home Affairs and other ministries as a good example of ICT-driven service delivery further commending the government on achieving this milestone. He further noted that the communication strategy is directly linked to the e-Government vision which puts citizens first, addresses Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and paves way for economic growth. “One of the targets of SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, for instance, is to, “Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020,” he said. MTN Chief Executive Officer, Ambrose Dlamini noted that the launch of the e-Government communication strategy was a pointer that the country is working towards the highest levels of development by leveraging e/m- government to transform civil service to become a catalyst of national change. The launch of the strategy also entailed the unveiling of the e-Government logo where the designer, from Elegant Websites explained how he coined the concept of the design; taken from the traditional Swazi way of greeting; shaking of hands combined with the ‘e’ sign for internet/electronic platform. Also, launched on the day was the Point of Sale service by Standard Bank which eliminates the traditional long ques that required people to go into government offices. “Anytime and anywhere is the promise,” the Prime Minister remarked. Other services launched on the day included the Client Management Information System (CMIS) part of the e-Health by the Ministry of Health, as well as the Provisional company registration by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade. This service resonates well with the SDGs promise of leaving no one behind, as it brings on board ICT stakeholders such as MTN who are also partnering with government in delivering this service to the people.