Singapore’s stellar performance has earned it the top spot in the annual Waseda e-Government report, which noted that the country has “a clear roadmap to develop e-Government” and “is a special case (offering) best practices for those small population countries with less than 10 million people, to learn and apply e-Government”.
Finland and the United States (US), took the second and third position respectively in the ranking. Three other Asian countries which have consistently been in the top 10 are South Korea, Japan and Taiwan (fourth, sixth and eighth respectively this year).
The Waseda ranking, which started in 2005 and now covers 55 countries, monitors and surveys the development of e-Government worldwide. It is conducted by a research team led by Professor Toshio Obi, Director of the Institute of e-Government, Waseda University.
The institute, which is based in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is also in charge of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) e-Government Research Centre and has been monitoring the development of e-Government strategies of APEC member economies since 2004.
Seven indicators were used for this year’s ranking – Network Preparedness, Management Optimisation, Required Interface, National Portal, Government Chief Information Office (GCIO), e-Government Promotion and e-Participation. To offer a better historical perspective, these seven indicators and their weights will be maintained for future studies, according to the report.
Network Preparedness refers to the basic infrastructure for effective implementation of e-Government. It takes into consideration the proportion of Internet users, broadband subscribers, mobile cellular subscribers and PC users in the country.
The survey noted that the network infrastructures of developed countries such as Singapore (which tops this indicator), South Korea, US, Finland, Japan, the United Kingdom and some Nordic countries were already in an advanced stage.
Singapore also did well in the indicators for Government CIO and e-Government Promotion. It shared the top position with South Korea and the US in giving a strong mandate to the CIOs who play an important leadership role in aligning management strategy with ICT investment to implement e-Government.
Singapore was also especially strong in e-Government Promotion, where it came in joint first with South Korea. This indicator included the level of support for the implementation of e-Government such as the legal frameworks and mechanisms (laws, plans, policies and strategies).
Under the e-Participation indicator, six countries shared the top spot – Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Finland, the US and Sweden. The survey said this showed healthy ICT-supported participation in government and governance processes such as administration, service delivery, consultation, decision-making and policy-making.
The National Portal is “the foundation of e-Government and a basic interface for stakeholders to access government in an electronic way”. The US topped the National Portal indicator, followed by Singapore and Finland.
As for the remaining indicators, Management Optimisation refers to the use of ICT to improve internal processes and measures the government’s level of computerisation and ICT integration, while the Required Interface indicator refers to the e-Transactions and e-Services that the government provides for its citizens and enterprises.
For its successful implementation of e-Government, the Waseda report noted that Singapore chose a centralised approach, with the government owning all the central ICT infrastructure, services, and policies in the public service.
“Thanks to the centralised infrastructure, all e-services provided by the government can utilise the same security, electronic payment, and data exchange mechanisms,” it said. “Many countries with small populations can apply this model to implement e-Government rapidly.”