I have just completed an MSc thesis that looks at how Rwanda has applied a management model of ‘New Public Management’ to improve its public service delivery, particularly with regard to health and education.
This model was applied in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) countries in the 1980s, 1990s and even today and it achieved considerable results.
However, I also looked at the new management model known as ‘Digital-Era Governance’, introduced in 2005, which was put forward by Patrick Dunleavy of the London School of Economics, and it shows how government can use technology, specially the internet, to reintegrate autonomous agencies back into manageable entities.
It seems this new model is in operation in developed countries already and it has eased the delivery of some government services such as E-Leaning, E-Health and even helped to lower unemployment figures by constantly providing job opportunities online to millions from the comfort of their homes.
It is, therefore, admirable that Rwanda is heading in that direction, and that the infrastructure needed is already in place. However, it is important to note that Digital Era Governance itself comes with a few hiccups.
For instance, high dependence on the cyberspace requires enormous investment in cyber security and this could cost billions as we would need world class professionals to design anti-hacking software which requires constant upgrading.
The danger is that it would be just as easy for a hacker anywhere in the world to hack in the government system as it would for a genuine citizen seeking genuine government services. This happens in the developed world almost every second, and it takes large investments to keep on top of it.
I endorse Digital Era Governance but with extreme caution as the likelihood of spiral costs is very high. Value for money should remain at the centre of the scheme.
Junior Sabena Mutabazi, London
Reaction to the story, “Government to embark on digital governance”, (The New Times, September 12)
Digital governance is a milestone and protecting sensitive data a priority