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Information and Communication Technologies for Improved Governance

This paper reviews the issues facing African countries in adopting information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance governance in four areas, reducing poverty, providing basic human needs, improving public administration, and enhancing democratization. It summarizes the use of ICTs in these areas – both successes and failures – around the world and in Africa. The theme in our overview of ICT in governance is that ICTs are neutral and that human choices will determine how ICT will be used and whether the revolution in ICTs will benefit all of Africa. The paper focuses on many of the caveats that should accompany ICT deployment and ends with an action framework for practitioners anxious to get started.