Jordan’s e-Government Development

the history of e-Government in Jordan The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan took aggressive steps to transform Jordan to an e-Country by launching a number of e-Initiatives from the start of the year 1999, so that e-Government lay at the heart of the government's efforts.

Jordan believed that one solution that could be used to develop the country and overcome its limited recourses was to join the global economy and promote sustainable human development by transforming Jordan into an e-Country.

This article reviews and summarises the development of Jordan's e-Government programme that have been developed throughout the seven years of its implementation, highlighting key strategy practices that have affected the country's transformation.

In this study three main approaches have been used to collect and analyse data; more than 80 government publications related to Jordanian e-Government have been reviewed and analysed in order to study the progress of the project.

30 government websites have been analysed using stage analysis so that the level of maturity of e-Government could be assessed, as well as website content analysis being analysed to ascertain their usability.

This was done using an instrument which contains 34 variables examining six dimensions of government websites. The dimensions are websites online service delivery, helpfulness to the user, ease of navigation, legitimacy, information architecture and accessibility accommodations.

Finally qualitative, semi-structured interviews were held with a number of Jordanian public sector officials responsible for the implementation of e-Government.

These included employees from the e-Government Programme Office and a number of IT managers who held varying positions in the ministries involved with the e-Government project.

e-Government Project in Jordan:
Project History and Goals: The ICT initiatives in Jordan started with the REACH (REACH as a concept is the sum of abbreviations Regulatory Framework, Enabling Environment (Infrastructure), Advancement Programs, Capital and Finance, Human Resource Development.)

initiative lunched in 1999 which was the core ICT programme intended to transform the country to e-Jordan. It promised to play a central role in economical and social improvement of the country.

REACH laid out a goal to bolster Jordan's nascent IT sector and maximise its ability to compete in local, regional, and global markets.

REACH Initiative set the following targets to be accomplished in Jordan by the year 2004:

US $550 million in annual IT exports.
Creatings 30,000 IT-related jobs
US $150 million cumulative Foreign Direct Investment.
To comply with REACH targets, Jordan undertook major ICT programmes, one of them has been e-Government.

e-Government is a national programme initiated by King Abdullah II in September of 2000.

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (MoICT), previously known as the Ministry of Post and Communication (the Ministry was renamed in the year 2003) started the e-Government programme towards achieving the e-Government vision in the year 2005.

The vision was that e-Government would be a contributor to Jordan's economic and social development by providing access to e-Government services and information to everyone in the Kingdom irrespective of location, economic status, IT ability and education.

e-Government represents a major shift in the role of government towards the 'client-focused' delivery of services, rather than government as a collector of information solely for its own purposes.

Project Responsibility:

When the Jordanian government started the project deployment, it identified seventeen domains as the major domains for the e-Government initiative.

These domains included economics, education and training, health industry etc.

These domains were to be used as the foundation for the e-Services that the government would provide for the citizens. All ministries of Jordan were to attempt to automate their services and provide citizens with online services.

Each ministry had to deliver services online using their own approach for this transformation which would, in theory, be guided, supervised, and monitored by the MoICT.

Along with the e-Government project, other initiatives are also taking place within individual ministries, cooperating in a variety of cross-ministerial initiatives under the guidance of the MoICT, using information technologies to drive intra-governmental information flow, as well as to develop services.

To a lesser extent the MoICT is involved and responsible for the deployment of 'Fast Track Projects' and other main infrastructure and e-Service projects across Jordan.

Fast Track Projects are eight projects initiated in the year 2000 intended to serve online all stakeholders of e-Government. The projects that were chosen were high value low risk projects that would deliver services to large segments of the society setting a positive example of e-Government.

Along with the e-Government project, various ministries are also involved in supervising and monitoring the major e-Government projects in Jordan; the Ministry of Planning oversees the early selection phase, the Ministry of Administrative Reforms is responsible for the policy formulation and coordination of all reform processes, the Prime Minister's Office develops plans for initiatives whose time scales range within and beyond three years.

However, the MoICT is considered the main ministry responsible for the implementation and development of the e-Government project in Jordan; it has been designated as the focal point for co-ordinating the implementation of the e-Government programme.

Most governments around the world are deploying e-Government projects in the hope of achieving many promised benefits.

Jordan initiated its e-Government project hoping to achieve social and economic development in what seemed a straight - forward implementable project.

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