The Africa We Want: Reflections on E-Government Services in Rwanda

When I first ventured into this uncharted territory of e-governance, I have to admit that I hadn’t really heard of Rwanda. This venture into the public administration space as a professor of marketing with research interests in African entrepreneurship and its intersections with marketing are due to two colleagues at the now AACSB-accredited University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

This first article is titled “A first assessment of e-governance and public sector marketing in the UAE» published about 15 years ago in 2013, and yours truly, it was just that – a first assessment! Looking back over a decade and a half, I intend to provide not only my readers, but also myself, with some highlights from this article before turning to the business of the day, which focuses on ” e-governance in Rwanda”. – excerpt below:

The 2010 United Nations e-government survey describes [the process] as a “citizen-centric practice” – analogous to “e-commerce”, which enables businesses to transact with each other more efficiently (B2B) and brings customers closer to businesses (B2C) [with the view to making] more user-friendly, convenient, transparent and cost-effective interactions at three distinct levels, between government and citizens (G2C); public and commercial enterprises (G2B); and government to government (G2G) (e.g. inter-agency relations).

“… [the key message for] public administration [is on becoming more] transparent, fast and responsible [meeting] needs and expectations of society through effective public services and effective interaction between citizens, businesses and government [i.e., through what is now generally accepted as] public sector marketing.

The excerpts from this non-African context continue as follows:

“…We can easily notice three key benefits [of e-government] – accessibility, convenience and economy […] a “one-stop-shop” gateway, opening government websites to the public to facilitate the provision of a variety of services to its citizens.

Come to Rwanda – what’s the story?

The Irembo e-government services cover key areas ranging from family, identity, land administration, policing, health and education, to museums, governance, transport and museums.

In all of these, however, and obviously nothing to do with rankings, but health, identity and museums stand out for obvious reasons. In terms of health, this sector is recognized as one of the best in Africa. For identifyafter the 1994 genocide and the kwibukano Rwandans are identified on the basis of their ethnicity.

Build on this de-ethnicizationthe genocide memorial scattered across the country, demonstrate the coming of age of museums management in the country. Digging deeper, the following summary might be useful for those unfamiliar with what Rwanda has to offer as the acclaimed “first world” of the “developing world”.

In no particular order, e-government services include:

  • Family – in particular residence certificate; genocide survivor certificate; certificate “to be single”; and certificate of “cohabitation”.
  • Health – in particular the Community Based Health Insurance (Mutual health).
  • Education – in particular the request for assimilation of foreign diplomas.
  • Governance – in particular NGO registrations.
  • Ground – in particular electronic payment services.
  • Police – in particular the technical inspection of motor vehicles, the results of driving license examinations and the renewal of driving licences.
  • Immigration/emigration – in particular the processes for applying for an electronic passport.
  • Identification – in particular certificates of “complete identity”, nationality and “being alive”.

  • Transportation – in particular the transport authorization – which was demonstrated in particular during the recent CHOGM Event.

So this is it, Irembo.Gov in the world! As we aspire to bring the narrative of the “The Africa We Want“narrative to be realized, I sincerely hope that Africa (academics, policy makers and other key stakeholders) truly watches and learns from a well-established and articulate brother, who also currently holds the revered position of Commonwealth Incumbent Chair.

All in all, I sincerely hope that my peers in the “academy” will begin to see the value of not only the “task”, but also the challenge and encouragement of students to “take” this discourse to the next level through the research. .

Feature photo: Irembo’s Managing Director on the left, the Minister of ICT and Innovation and the Minister of Local Government on the right, during the talk show with journalists during the launch of Irembo’s programme.

Nnamdi O. Madichie is a Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, University of Kigali, Rwanda

Ashley C. Reynolds