Welcome Address by Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

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2nd May 2011, Sheraton Addis, Addis Ababa

Excellencies,
Distinguished Partners of the 2011 TIGA Awards,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and our partners, I would like to welcome you all once again to Addis Ababa and to the Third Technology in Government in Africa (TIGA 3) Award Ceremony. This award celebrates and recognizes the efforts and concrete steps that our African Governments and their institutions are taking in exploiting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in their every day functions.
I am particularly proud of the continued support that the Government of Finland is rendering in supporting this pioneering initiative which is aimed at encouraging the use of ICTs in the delivery of public services to citizens, civil society organizations, and the private sector in an efficient, transparent and effective manner.

The concept of TIGA is premised on the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) framework that was developed under the auspices of ECA. It calls on African governments to use ICTs to "improve the effectiveness of government service delivery and stimulate the information and communication industries", namely the institutionalization of e-government.

Today, we see signs that more websites are being created by African Governments to support citizens’ access to vital information. Websites are being integrated into one-stop shops to access government services. There are also signs of emerging electronic services (e-Services) especially for transactional activities in many more countries.

However, whilst the adoption of e-government in Africa is on the increase it is a fact that the continent falls below the world average, which is why these awards are so important. From ECA’s observation there has been some improvement in the region, especially in Central, North and West Africa. We also know that North Africa leads Africa and is closely followed by the Southern Africa region. Our aim is to get all countries of the sub-regions taking up e-government initiatives on a wider scale. These awards have become strong indications of e-government trends in Africa.

For instance, for the first entries to the award in 2007, there were 36 TIGA entries from 17 countries. Two years later, there were 60 entries from 20 countries in 2009. This year, 89 entries were received from 24 countries, with over 44 projects short-listed for the Awards. In general, an increase of over 40% in the number of entries is received with every subsequent TIGA Award. This suggests that there is significant interest and increased use of ICT in delivery of innovative services to the people by African governments.

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests,

I am pleased we are able to showcase some of the most innovative ICT best practices from Africa and by Africans which is an important milestone for our development process in government efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services in our public sector. Significantly, we are now exploring with our counterparts in New York in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) to create synergies between TIGA and the United Nations Public Service Awards to recognize excellence in public service in Africa.

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests,

Furthermore, ECA will be launching during the next TIGA process in 2013 a G-Government category or Geospatial Government, which encompasses the use of the Internet and GIS in making the delivery of services more effective by governments. As you might be aware, the combination of readily available Internet access and maps is defining new levela of government services to both businesses and the public. The G-Government Award will be an additional category under TIGA and will give recognition to member States developing spatially enabled e-Government services for the citizens, businesses and the community at large.
Let me thank all our sponsors that have made this event possible, especially:

The Gold Sponsors: Microsoft Corporation and Jupiter Hotels; and

The Silver Sponsors: The Internet Society (ISOC), Ericsson, Kenya Airways and One Lap Top per Child.

Special thanks also go to our panel of excellent and knowledgeable judges who have painstakingly gone through a vigorous process to select the winners.

Let me now thank Ms Eskedar Nega of the ICT, Science and Technology Division and her colleagues, Afework Temtime, Girma Dessalegn and Hopestone Chavula, who have tirelessly worked to host this event since its inception, as well as ECA’s Information and Communication Team.

Finally my heartfelt congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the 2011 TIGA Awards, and I hope the Awards will motivate and encourage others to engage in innovative ways of using ICTs for efficient and effective delivery of public services on the continent.
I thank you all and enjoy the evening.