WIT Press

Opportunity And Overview Of SMS-based E-government In Developing Countries


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T. D. Susanto & R. Goodwin


Despite the large number of e-government initiatives in developing countries, most of the initiatives have failed. Possible causes of the failures include: low Internet penetration, high Internet costs and Internet illiteracy. Rather than forcing citizens to upgrade their current devices and knowledge by promoting e-government through PCs and Internet access, this paper proposes a bottom-up development approach utilising the currently popular communications technology in developing countries, mobile phones and the Short Message Service (SMS) application. The advantages of initially using SMS to deliver e-government services in developing countries include: a large number of users with appropriate skills, low cost as users already have mobile phones, and an adequate infrastructure. For these reasons SMS-based e-government can be utilised by more people in developing countries than Internet-based e-government. This paper focuses on the potential of SMS-based e-government in low and lower middle-income countries (as defined by World Bank indicators). It includes an analysis of the present applications of SMS-based e-government in some of these countries. Keywords: SMS, e-government, developing countries. 1 Developing countries and e-government Developing countries have many economic, political and societal problems, which are exacerbated by their low per capita incomes. The system of government is considered to be one of the main causes of the problems. Learning from developed countries, developing countries believe that using Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to implement


SMS, e-government, developing countries.