To order raw e-government data, visit http://www.InsidePolitics.org/egovtdata.html

 

Global E-Government, 2004

 

by Darrell M. West

67 George St.

Center for Public Policy

Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island 02912-1977

United States

Darrell_West@brown.edu

(401) 863-1163

www.InsidePolitics.org

 

September, 2004


Table of Contents

 

Executive Summary 

A Note on Methodology 

Online Information 

Electronic Services 

Privacy and Security 

Disability Access 

Foreign Language Access 

Ads, User Fees, and Premium Fees 

Public Outreach 

Top E-Government Countries 

Differences by Region of World 

Conclusion 

Appendix 

Table A-1  E-Government Rankings by Country, 2004

Table A-2  E-Government Country Ratings, 2003 and 2004

Table A-3  Individual Country Profiles for Services, Privacy, Security, and Disability Access, 2004

Table A-4  Individual Country Profiles for Foreign Language Translation, and Ads, 2004

Table A-5  Best Practices of Top Government Sites, 2004


Executive Summary

 

Electronic government refers to public sector use of the Internet and other digital devices to deliver services and information.  Although personal computers have been around for several decades, recent advances in networking, video imaging, and graphics interfacing have allowed governments to develop websites that contain a variety of online materials.  As discussed in my forthcoming book, Digital Government:  Technology and Public Sector Performance (Princeton University Press, 2005), electronic government is supplanting traditional means of access based on personal visits, phone calls, and mail delivery.

Governments around the world have created websites that facilitate tourism, citizen complaints, and business investment.  Tourists can book hotels through the government websites of many Caribbean and Pacific island countries.  In Australia, citizens can register government complaints through agency websites.  Nations such as Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic are attracting overseas investors through their websites.

            In this report, I present the fourth annual update on global e-government.  I study what is online globally and how electronic government has changed over the past four years.  Using a detailed analysis of 1,935 government websites in 198 different nations undertaken during Summer, 2004, I chart the variations that exist across regions and countries, and discuss the pace at which e-government is unfolding around the world. 

In looking at electronic government from 2001 to 2004, I find that progress is being made, albeit at an incremental pace.  Governments are showing steady progress on several important dimensions, but not major leaps forward.   On several key indicators, e-government performance is edging up.  However, movement forward has not been more extensive in some areas because budget, bureaucratic, and institutional forces have limited the extent to which the public sector has incorporated technology into their mission. 

Among the significant findings of the research are:

1) 21  percent of government websites offer services that are fully executable online, up from 16 percent in 2003, 12 percent in 2002, and eight percent in 2001.

2) 89 percent of websites this year provide access to publications and 62 percent have links to databases.

3) 14 percent (up from 12  percent in 2003) show privacy policies, while 8 percent  have security policies (up from 6 percent in 2003). 

4) 14 percent of government websites have some form of disability access, meaning access for persons with disabilities, the same as in 2003. 

5) Countries vary enormously in their overall e-government performance based on our analysis.  The most highly ranked nations include Taiwan, Singapore, United States, Canada, Monaco, China, Australia, Togo, and Germany.

6) There are major differences in e-government performance based on region of the world.  In general, countries in North America score the highest, followed by Asia, Western Europe, Pacific Ocean Islands, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, South America, Central America, and Africa. 

 

A Note on Methodology

 

The data for our analysis consist of an assessment of 1,935 national government websites for the 198 nations around the world (see Appendix for the full list of countries). We analyze a range of sites within each country to get a full sense of what is available in particular nations.  Among the sites analyzed are those of executive offices (such as a president, prime minister, ruler, party leader, or royalty), legislative offices (such as Congress, Parliament, or People's Assemblies), judicial offices (such as major national courts), Cabinet offices, and major agencies serving crucial functions of government, such as health, human services, taxation, education, interior, economic development, administration, natural resources, foreign affairs, foreign investment, transportation, military, tourism, and business regulation.  Websites for subnational units, obscure boards and commissions, local government, regional units, and municipal offices are not included in this study. The analysis was undertaken during June and July, 2004 at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Tabulation for this project was completed by Ruth Brown, Kelly Donnelly, Tolga Erem, Zhizhan Gu, Masha Kirasirova, Ammar Shaikhouni, and Molly Bronson.  National government website addresses can be found at www.InsidePolitics.org/world.html.

The regional breakdowns for the websites we studied are 20 percent from Western European countries, followed by 17 percent from Africa, 14 percent from Asia, 12 percent Eastern Europe, 8 percent the Middle East, 7 percent South America, 5 percent Pacific Ocean countries (meaning those off the Asian continent), 6 percent from Central America, 6 percent North America (which included Canada, the United States, and Mexico), and 5 percent Russia and Central Asia (such as the areas of the former Soviet Union).

Websites are evaluated for the presence of various features dealing with information availability, service delivery, and public access.  Features assessed included the name of the nation, region of the world, and having the following features:  online publications, online database, audio clips, video clips, non-native languages or foreign language translation, commercial advertising, premium fees, user payments, disability access, privacy policy, security features, presence of online services, number of different services, digital signatures, credit card payments, email address, comment form, automatic email updates, website personalization, personal digital assistant (PDA) access, and an English version of the website. 

            Where national government websites are not in English, our research team employed foreign language readers who translate and evaluate national government websites.  In some cases, we have made use of foreign language translation software available online through http://babelfish.altavista.com.  Some of the non-English websites are assessed in part through English translations of portions of the websites. 

 

Online Information

 

In looking at specific features of government websites, we want to see how much material was available that would inform citizens.  Most agencies have made extensive progress at placing information online for public access.  Eighty-nine percent of government websites around the world offer publications that a citizen could access (the same as in 2003 and up from 77 percent in 2002), and 62 percent provided databases (down from 73 percent last year).      

 

Percentage of Websites Offering Publications and Databases

 

2001

2002

 

2003

2004

Phone Contact Info.

70%

77%

--

--

Address Info

67

77

--

--

Links to Other Sites

42

82

--

--

Publications

71

77

89

89

Databases

41

83

73

62

Audio Clips

4

8

8

12

Video Clips

4

15

8

13

 

Most public sector websites do not incorporate audio clips or video clips on their official sites.  Despite the fact that these are becoming much more common features of e-commerce and private sector enterprise, only 12 percent of government websites provide audio clips and 13 percent have video clips.  These are slightly higher than the 8 percent of sites last year that featured audio and video clips. 

 

Electronic Services

 

            For e-government service delivery, we look at the number and type of online services offered. Features are defined as services only if the entire transaction can occur online.  If a citizen has to print out a form and then mail it back to the agency to obtain the service, we do not count that as a service that can be fully executed online.  Searchable databases count as services only if they involved accessing information that result in a specific government service response.

            Of the websites examined around the world, however, 21 percent offer services that are fully executable online, which is up from 16 percent in 2003 and 12 percent in 2002.  Of this group, 11 percent offer one service, four percent have two services, and six percent have three or more services.  Seventy-nine percent have no online services.  

 

Number of Online Services

 

2001

2002

 

2003

2004

None

92%

88%

84%

79%

One

5

7

9

11

Two

1

2

3

4

Three or more

2

3

4

6

 

            North America (including the United States, Canada, and Mexico) is the area offering the highest percentage of online services.  Fifty-three percent (up from 45 percent last year) had fully executable, online services.  This was followed by Pacific Ocean islands (43 percent), Asia (30 percent), Western Europe (29 percent), and the Middle East (19 percent).  Only 2 percent in Russia/Central Asia, 8 percent in Africa, and 8 percent of sites in Eastern Europe offer online government services. 

 

Percentage of Government Sites Offering Online Services by Region of World

 

2001

2002

2003

 

2004

North America

28%

41%

45%

53%

Pacific Ocean Islands

19

14

17

43

Asia

12

26

26

30

Middle East

10

15

24

19

Western Europe

9

10

17

29

Eastern Europe

--

2

6

8

Central America

4

4

9

17

South America

3

7

14

10

Russia/Central Asia

2

1

1

2

Africa

2

2

5

8

 

            As the e-government industry expands worldwide, the complexity and specificity of online services continues to develop.  Many nations have sites devoted specifically to e-government, on which they present new initiatives as well as offer listings of services available online.  For example, Taiwan, Singapore, and the United States have highly developed portals, which serve as gateways to a plethora of government services as well as directories to other specific government sites. 

International services have developed in response to the increasing popularity and prevalence of SMS (Short Message Service) via mobile phones.  Many of Norway’s government sites contain explanations of how SMS works and instructions as to how citizens can contact a variety of national agencies by way of their text messaging service.  Sites for the Republic of Congo and Singapore also endorse the use of text-messaging as a means of contacting government officials.   Increased technological development has also allowed many sites to become more disability-friendly.  For example, the Finnish Ministry of the Interior site gives users the option to adjust the size of the font, while some Swedish agencies provide audio versions of the text and information contained on the screen. 

Several sites, such as the British Prime Minister, display links to information about the Bobby program, a disability screening mechanism that serves to verify if a site is properly accessible to disabled citizens.  Other novel services are of a more unique variety.  The Greek Foreign Affairs site gives visitors the option to learn basic Greek online, while the Polish government portal provides a link to a live video feed of Polish storks.  Interestingly, some nations have begun to use the Internet as a means to encourage romance among their citizens.  Moroccan online classified ads contain a special section for personals, while Singapore provides a “love byte” website that gives citizens the opportunity to “find [their] soul mate” online. 

Despite the increased complexity and technological development on many international sites, there remain problems with government sites.  For example the Tanzania portal contains a large number of broken links, while hackers temporarily took over Zambian tourist board site.  Intruders substituted the slogan “Hackers Rule” along with a picture of a penguin on this agency website.  Meanwhile, during the summer of 2004, the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation had a link to a section entitled “USAID Food Security Reports” that took visitors to a commercial site showing hard-core pornography.   

One feature that has slowed the development of online services has been an inability to use credit cards and digital signatures on financial transactions.  On commercial sites, it is becoming a more common practice to offer goods and services online for purchase through the use of credit cards.  However, of the government websites analyzed, only 4 percent (up from 2 percent in 2003) accept credit cards and sixth-tenths of 1 percent allowed digital signatures for financial transactions (up from one-tenth of 1 percent last year).   

            Of the 198 nations analyzed, there is wide variance in the number of online services provided by different governments.  The country with the largest number of services is Singapore, with an average of 9.5 services across its various government agencies.  This is followed by Bahrain (5.0 services), China (3.2 services), the Bahamas (3.0 services), the United States (2.9 services), Hong Kong (2.5 services), Australia (2.3 services), and New Zealand (2.1 services).  It is important to keep in mind that our definition of services included only those services that were fully executable online.  If a citizen has to print out a form and mail or take it to a government agency to execute the service, we do not count that as an online service.

 

Privacy and Security

 

            Having visible statements outlining what the site is doing on privacy and security are valuable assets for reassuring a fearful population to make use of e-government services and information.  However, few global e-government sites offer policy statements dealing with these topics.  Only 14 percent (up from 12 percent in 2003) of examined sites have some form of privacy policy on their site, and 8 percent have a visible security policy (up from 6 percent).  Both of these are areas that government officials need to take much more seriously.  Unless ordinary citizens feel safe and secure in their online information and service activities, e-government is not going to grow very rapidly.

 

 

2001

2002

2003

 

2004

Privacy

6%

14%

12%

14%

Security

3

9

6

8

 

            There are widespread variations across the nations in providing privacy policies on their websites.  The countries with the highest percentage of websites offering a visible privacy policy are Malta, the Bahamas, Saint Vincent, Togo, Dominica, and Iraq (each with 100 percent of its sites).  These nations were followed by Australia and Singapore (97 percent), Canada (90 percent), and the United States (82 percent).   

Despite the importance of security in the virtual world, there are wide variations across nations in the percentage of websites showing a security policy.  The countries most likely to show a visible security policy are Iraq (100 percent of its sites), Singapore (93 percent), the United States (67 percent), Taiwan (54 percent), Great Britain (41 percent), China (35 percent), Saint Lucia (25 percent), Belize (25 percent), Germany (23 percent), and Australia (23 percent). 

In order to assess particular aspects of privacy and security, we evaluated the content of these publicly posted statements.  For privacy policies, we look at several features:  whether the privacy statement prohibits commercial marketing of visitor information; use of cookies or individual profiles of visitors; disclosure of personal information without the prior consent of the visitor, or disclosure of visitor information with law enforcement agents.  In general, we found weak protections of visitor privacy.  For example, only 10 percent of government websites prohibit the commercial marketing on visitor information; just six percent prohibit cookies, 10 percent prohibit sharing personal information, and 8 percent share information with law enforcement agents.  And in regard to security policies, 9 percent indicate that they use computer software to monitor traffic. 

 

Disability Access

 

We tested disability access by examining the actual accessibility of government websites through the automated "Bobby 5.0" software produced by Watchfire, Inc. (http://bobby.watchfire.com).  This commercial firm offers software that tests websites against standards of compliance with the standards recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). 

For our test, we used the Priority Level One standard and evaluated each government agency regarding whether it complies with the W3C guidelines.  Sites are judged to be either in compliance or not in compliance based on the results of this test.  According to our Bobby analysis, 14 percent of government websites are accessible to the disabled, the same as last year.  Clearly, more work needs to be undertaken to make government sites accessible to all who wish to use them.

The country whose sites had the largest number of disability error problems, as judged by the Watchfire, Inc. Bobby software, was Togo.  Its sites averaged 231 disability problems per site.  Togo was followed by Saint Lucia (an average of 152 errors), Dominica (87 errors), Somalia (80 errors), Uzbekistan (77 errors), the Republic of Congo (75 errors), China (72 errors), Latvia (72 errors), Russia (65 errors), and Liechtenstein (63 errors).

 

Foreign Language Access

 

Fifty percent of national government websites have foreign language features that allow access to non-native speaking individuals, about the same as the 51 percent last year.  By foreign language feature, we mean any accommodation to the non-native speakers in a particular country, such as text translation into a different language.  Many have no language translation on their site other than their native tongue.  Seventy-seven percent offer at least some portion of their websites in English.

 

 

2001

2002

2003

2004

Foreign Language Translation

45%

43%

51%

50%

 

Ads, User Fees, and Premium Fees

 

Many nations are struggling with the issue of how to pay for electronic governance. When defining an advertisement, we eliminate computer software available for free download (such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Netscape Navigator, and Microsoft Internet Explorer) since they are necessary for viewing or accessing particular products or publications. Links to commercial products or services available for a fee were included as advertisements as were banner, pop-up, and fly-by advertisements.

As shown below, only 4 percent of government websites in 2004 rely on ads (up from 2 percent last year).  The countries with the greatest reliance on advertisements include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Central Africa Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Costa Rico, Antigua, and Eritrea (each with 100 percent of its government websites having ads).   

 

 

2001

2002

2003

2004

Ads

4%

8%

2%

4%

User Fees

--

1

0.2

1.3

Premium Fees

--

0

0.2

0.7

 

While it appears that the vast majority of governmental agencies do not turn to commercial advertising in order to finance their sites, many travel and tourism sites contain advertisements.  For example, the Czech Republic site has ads for hotels, travel services (Expedia), IBM, and T-Mobile.  The Ghana tourism site has a commercial for tour guides.  The Grenada tourism agency offers ads for hotels and tours. Malaysia has advertisements for Malaysia Airlines, while Antigua has commercials for Air Jamaica and Geographia Travel Services. 

However, other sites also provide advertisements.  Afghanistan has an ad for www.islam411.com, which provides a “Brief Illustrated Guide to Islam”.  Albania provides commercials promoting responsible fisheries.  Costa Rica has an ad for Real Video TV.  The Cuban Science and Technology site has an advertisement for www.travels2cuba.com.  The Comoros portal offers ads for Internet service. 

In general, user fees are relatively scarce among the sites we examined.  Most services and databases could be completed or obtained by mail or in person at no additional charge.  The few that were found (1.3 percent of all sites) included charges applied in order to access publications or databases, or to register as a member of a particular database.

The nation with the greatest employment of user fees is China, with 35 percent of its sites having user fees.  Other nations relying on user fees are Taiwan (19 percent of its sites), the United States (8 percent), Australia (6 percent), Argentina (8 percent), Singapore (3 percent), and Germany (3 percent). 

Examples of user fees include a $100 charge for Canadian textile companies to apply for a Competition Act ID number, which is used to meet regulations from the Textile Labeling Act.  By registering, textile companies are able to search the CA Number Database which contains the name and postal addresses of all Canadian textile business who have been assigned a CA ID number, and also allows the retailer to perform electronic transactions with Industry Canada.  Canada also offers many of their Internet publications, located on the Statistics site, for a fee, although certain statistical publications are offered for viewing free of charge as well.  The site has made it easy and convenient to pay the minimal charge with a credit card and immediately download the publication. 

The United States Court of Appeals has a program available online called Public Access to Courts Electronic Records (PACER).  This service allows users to acquire case and docket information from the Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, as well as from the U.S. Party/Case Index.  To view this database, a free registration with username and password is required, and once registered, a userfee of $.07 per page is charged for access to web based PACER systems, and $.60 per minute for access to dial-up.  Not all courts participate in this, and the search categories include name or social security number in the bankruptcy index, name or nature of suit in the civil index, defendant name in the criminal index, or party name within the appellate index.  The results found will be those of the party name, location of the court where the case was filed, case number, as well as the filing date.      

Less than one percent of sites had premium sections that charged fees.  Examples of countries having premium fee areas are the Republic of Congo (100 percent), Vietnam (13 percent), the United States (10 percent), Djibouti (10 percent), Switzerland (7 percent), Oman (6 percent), and Singapore (3 percent).   

 

Public Outreach

 

E-government offers the potential to bring citizens closer to their governments.  Regardless of the type of political system that a country has, the public benefits from interactive features that facilitate communication between citizens and government.  In our examination of national government websites, we look for various features that would help citizens contact government officials and make use of information on websites.

Email is an interactive feature that allows ordinary citizens to pose questions of government officials or request information or services.  In our study, we find that 88 percent (up from 84 percent in 2003) of government websites offered email contact material so that a visitor could email a person in a particular department other than the Webmaster. 

 

Percentage of Government Websites Offering Public Outreach

 

2001

2002

2003

2004

Email

73%

75%

84%

88%

Search

38

54

--

--

Comments

8

33

31

16

Email Updates

6

10

12

16

Broadcast

2

2

--

--

Website Personalization

--

1

1

2

PDA Access

--

--

2

1

 

Sixteen percent offer areas to post comments (other than through email), the use of message boards, and chat rooms.  Websites using these features allow citizens and department members alike to read and respond to others’ comments regarding issues facing the department.  Sixteen percent (up from 12 percent last year) of government websites allow citizens to register to receive updates regarding specific issues.  With this feature, web visitors can input their email addresses, street addresses, or telephone numbers to receive information about a particular subject as new information becomes available.  The information can be in the form of a monthly e-newsletter highlighting a prime minister's views or in the form of alerts notifying citizens whenever a particular portion of the website is updated.  Two percent of sites allow websites to be personalized to the interests of the visitor, and one percent provide personal digital assistant (PDA) access, about the same as last year.  

 

Top E-Government Countries            

 

In order to see how the 198 nations ranked overall, we create a 0 to 100 point e-government index and apply it to each nation's websites based on the availability of publications, databases, and number of online services.  Four points are awarded to each website for the presence of the following features:  publications, databases, audio clips, video clips, foreign language access, not having ads, not having premium fees, not having user fees, disability access, having privacy policies, security policies, allowing digital signatures on transactions, an option to pay via credit cards, email contact information, areas to post comments, option for email updates, option for website personalization, and PDA accessibility.  These features provide a maximum of 72 points for particular websites. 

Each site then qualifies for a bonus of 28 points based on the number of online services executable on that site (1 point for one service, two points for two services, three points for three services, and on up to twenty-eight points for twenty-eight or more services).   The e-government index runs along a scale from zero (having none of these features and no online services) to 100 (having all features plus at least 28 online services).  Totals for each website within a country were averaged across all of that nation's websites to produce a zero to 100 overall rating for that nation. 

The top country in our ranking is Taiwan at 44.3 percent.  This means that every website we analyzed for that nation has just less than half of the features important for information availability, citizen access, portal access, and service delivery.  Other nations that score well on e-government include Singapore (43.8), United States (42.9 percent), Canada (40.3 percent), Monaco (39.0), China (37.3), Australia (36.7 percent), Togo (36.0), and Germany (35.0).  The Appendix lists e-government scores for each of the 198 countries, plus comparisons between 2003 and 2004. 

 

Differences by Region of World

 

There are some differences in e-government by region of the world.  In looking at the overall e-government scores by region, North America scores the highest (39.2 percent), followed by Asia (31.6 percent), Western Europe (30.0 percent), Pacific Ocean Islands (29.9 percent), Middle East (28.1 percent), Eastern Europe (28.0 percent), Russia and Central Asia (25.3 percent), South America (24.3 percent), Central America (24.1 percent), and Africa (22.0 percent).

 

E-Government Ratings by Region

 

2001

2002

2003

 

2004

North America

51.0%

60.4

40.2

39.2

Western Europe

34.1

47.6

33.1

30.0

Eastern Europe

--

43.5

32.0

28.0

Asia

34.0

48.7

34.3

31.6

Middle East

31.1

43.2

32.1

28.1

Russia/Central Asia

30.9

37.2

29.7

25.3

South America

30.7

42.0

29.5

24.3

Pacific Ocean Islands

30.6

39.5

32.1

29.9

Central America

27.7

41.4

28.6

24.1

Africa

23.5

36.8

27.6

22.0

 

In looking at regional differences by particular feature, North America, Asia, and Western Europe rank most highly on services, while North America, Pacific Ocean Islands, and Western Europe score highest on access to databases.   The areas providing the greatest degree of accessibility through foreign language translation are Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Western Europe.

 

 

Nor Am

Cent Am

S. Am

WesEur

Eas

Eur

 

Rus

Mid Eas

Afri

Asia

Pac Oc

Publication

99%

86%

96%

95%

92%

89%

86%

79%

09%

84%

Database

87

52

61

66

55

72

80

42

66

59

Audio Clip

25

13

13

13

8

2

14

6

16

11

Video Clip

32

7

8

16

11

4

11

6

21

13

Foreign Lang

58

14

6

65

100

59

68

14

66

11

Ads

0

7

1

1

2

13

13

4

4

0

Premium Fee

5

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

1

0

User Fee

6

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

5

2

Privacy

69

10

4

14

3

0

4

1

22

48

Security

44

4

2

5

0

0

3

0

20

11

Disability

47

8

6

26

16

1

1

4

8

39

Services

53

17

10

29

8

2

19

8

30

43

Credit Cards

16

2

0

6

1

2

1

0

6

9

Digital Sign

2

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

0

Email

92

83

88

95

91

70

88

84

85

82

Comment

27

14

8

9

7

27

33

10

28

20

Updates

40

8

10

22

11

13

8

6

22

23

Personal

5

0

1

1

1

3

2

1

3

0

PDA Access

3

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

 

Conclusion

 

            Overall, it appears that some progress has been made in global e-government over the past year.  Many nations are offering new online services, thereby acknowledging the growing role of technology in everyday life.  For example, nations such as Norway offer extensive information regarding how to communicate with government officials via text messaging on mobile phones.  In addition, other nations including Taiwan provide pages that are compatible with handheld PDA devices.  Such features increase the capability of citizens to attain connections with their government and suggest that governmental communications are evolving along with general advancements in society.

            Despite this movement forward, there are still a variety of issues with global sites that hinder their ability to reach their full potential in terms of accessibility and effectiveness.  For example, sites for nations such as Tanzania include several links that don’t work.  Other nations have links that take an incredibly long time to load or lead users to incorrect sites. It is important for those designing these websites to ensure that all links are properly functional and that they do indeed lead users to their desired locations in order to be adequately user-friendly.

            Another issue with website design is the fact that many sites are under construction or have not been updated for long periods of time.  Designers must attempt to keep the sites as up to date as possible to ensure that all information presented is accurate and complete.  Furthermore, while many sites offered links to email addresses, several such links connected the visitor to an address of a webmaster as opposed to an actual government official.  If a link connects the user with a webmaster, it is important to clearly indicate this fact so that no one is misled to send site designers questions that are actually directed to government officials.  Alternatively, it is beneficial to create comment templates through which visitors can make inquiries directly online without having to send messages from their own email accounts.  This increases the ease with which citizens can communicate with members of their government.

            One aspect in particular which made websites more accessible and uncomplicated was the level of organization.  Sites which offered A-to-Z indexes, a clear list of links to government agency or department web pages, or organized their online services by agency or function instead of one comprehensive list were much more navigable and user-friendly.  It was easy to use these sites and find information that we wanted.  Governments which arranged their websites with a common template for all agencies cater to the needs of online users by providing a familiar background on each page which made finding publications, privacy statements or e-mail contacts much more straight-forward.  Encountering an intricate and convoluted portal makes users less likely to explore the site and be able to find desired information or online services. 

            Websites that were bilingual or multi-lingual were helpful to facilitating accessibility, as long as the link actually took the user to the intended language.  Links which automatically reverted back to the original language made for a frustrating and unrewarding Internet experience.  Switzerland is an ideal example of employing multiple language translations of their websites.  Every translation is comprehensive and every link stays within the intended language.

            Nations with developed websites were a pleasure to explore and learn about the country and frequently offered services online.  The biggest impediments to investigating a government's site were lack of organization and cluttered portals, as well as technical difficulties and language barriers.  With some changes to the outline of the website, governments can increase the accessibility and user-friendliness of their sites.  In the long-run, this will increase citizen usage and bring down the costs of electronic government.

 

Appendix

 

Table A-1  E-Government Rankings by Country, 2004 (from highest to lowest performing)

 

Taiwan

44.3

Singapore

43.8

 

 

United States

41.9

Canada

40.3

 

 

Monaco

39.0

China

37.3

 

 

Australia

36.7

Togo

36.0

 

 

Germany

35.0

Iraq

34.0

 

 

Hong Kong

33.7

New Zealand

33.6

 

 

Italy

33.2

Great Britain

33.0

 

 

Liechtenstein

33.0

Bahrain

33.0

 

 

Dominica

33.0

France

32.8

 

 

Israel

32.3

Marshall Islands

32.0

 

 

Moldova

32.0

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

32.0

 

 

Bolivia

32.0

Indonesia

32.0

 

 

Malta

31.4

Belgium

31.3

 

 

Netherlands

31.0

Czech Republic

30.9

 

 

Japan

30.8

Saudi-Arabia

30.7

 

 

Denmark

30.6

South Korea

30.5

 

 

Kuwait

30.1

Ireland

29.9

 

 

Sweden

29.8

Jordan

29.7

 

 

India

29.6

Luxembourg

29.6

 

 

Mexico

29.6

Chile

29.2

 

 

Finland

29.1

Lebanon

29.0

 

 

Maldives

29.0

Palau

29.0

 

 

Iran

29.0

Poland

28.6

 

 

Oman

28.5

Estonia

28.5

 

 

Qatar

28.3

Uzbekistan

28.3

 

 

Austria

28.2

Greece

28.1

 

 

Iceland

28.1

Latvia

28.0

 

 

Myanmar

28.0

Belize

28.0

 

 

Egypt

28.0

Guyana

28.0

 

 

North Korea

28.0

Slovakia

27.9

 

 

Slovenia

27.7

Turkey

27.6

 

 

Philippines

27.6

Switzerland

27.6

 

 

Thailand

27.6

Romania

27.5

 

 

Armenia

27.5

Serbia and Montenegro

27.5

 

 

Lithuania

27.3

Croatia

27.2

 

 

Bahamas

27.0

Norway

27.0

 

 

Saint Lucia

27.0

Bangladesh

26.8

 

 

Cyprus (Republic)

26.8

Peru

26.7

 

 

Vietnam

26.5

Cambodia

26.5

 

 

Spain

26.5

Panama

26.4

 

 

Bulgaria

26.3

Sudan

26.3

 

 

Andorra

26.2

Malaysia

26.2

 

 

El Salvador

26.1

Afghanistan

26.0

 

 

Madagascar

26.0

Mauritania

26.0

 

 

Portugal

26.0

Vatican

26.0

 

 

Congo (Republic)

26.0

Gambia

26.0

 

 

Ukraine

25.8

Mongolia

25.7

 

 

Morocco

25.6

Albania

25.6

 

 

Hungary

25.4

Laos

25.3

 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

25.3

Georgia

25.3

 

 

Botswana

25.0

Colombia

24.8

 

 

Belarus

24.7

Pakistan

24.6

 

 

Yemen

24.5

Brazil

24.4

 

 

Barbados

24.3

South Africa

24.2

 

 

Libya

24.0

Macedonia

24.0

 

 

Nigeria

24.0

Niue

24.0

 

 

Sierra Leone

24.0

Sri Lanka

24.0

 

 

Turkmenistan

24.0

Chad

24.0

 

 

Comoros

24.0

Cote d’Ivoire

24.0

 

 

Cyprus (Turkish Republic)

24.0

Dominican Republic

24.0

 

 

Ethiopia

24.0

Arab Emirates

24.0

 

 

Kazakhstan

24.0

Nicaragua

23.9

 

 

Trinidad and Tobago

23.8

Djibouti

23.6

 

 

Argentina

23.5

Jamaica

23.4

 

 

Russian Federation

23.3

Nepal

23.2

 

 

Tunisia

23.2

Venezuela

23.2

 

 

Ecuador

23.2

San Marino

23.0

 

 

Ghana

23.0

Algeria

22.8

 

 

Fiji

22.8

Zambia

22.7

 

 

Burkina Faso

22.6

Brunei

22.4

 

 

Mozambique

22.3

Mauritius

22.2

 

 

Mali

22.0

Swaziland

22.0

 

 

Zimbabwe

22.0

Cape Verde

22.0

 

 

Cook Islands

22.0

Haiti

22.0

 

 

Uganda

21.8

Cuba

21.8

 

 

Uruguay

21.7

Honduras

21.7

 

 

Senegal

21.6

Guatemala

21.3

 

 

Paraguay

21.2

Rwanda

21.2

 

 

Gabon

21.0

Grenada

20.3

 

 

Samoa

20.2

Namibia

20.0

 

 

Niger

20.0

Somaliland

20.0

 

 

Syria

20.0

Tajikistan

20.0

 

 

Benin

20.0

Burundi

20.0

 

 

Congo (Democratic Republic)

20.0

Angola

20.0

 

 

East Timor

20.0

Antigua and Barbados

20.0

 

 

Guinea

20.0

Guinea-Bissau

20.0

 

 

Kenya

20.0

Papau New Guinea

19.9

 

 

Kyrgyzstan

19.4

Malawi

19.3

 

 

Seychelles

19.3

Soloman Islands

19.0

 

 

Cameroon

17.9

Saint Kitts and Nevis

17.3

 

 

Bhutan

17.0

Tanzania

17.0

 

 

Lesotho

16.7

Azerbaijan

16.0

 

 

Micronesia

16.0

Sao Tome and Principe

16.0

 

 

Suriname

16.0

Tonga

16.0

 

 

Vanuatu

16.0

Costa Rica

16.0

 

 

Equatorial Guinea

16.0

Liberia

12.0

 

 

Nauru

12.0

Somalia

12.0

 

 

Tuvalu

12.0

Central Africa

12.0

 

 

Eritrea

12.0

Kiribati

12.0

 

 

 

Table A-2  E-Government Country Ratings, 2003 and 2004

Country

2003

2004

Afghanistan

28.0%

26.0

Albania

28.3

25.6

Algeria

28.0

22.8

Andorra

29.3

26.2

Angola

24.0

20.0

Antigua

28.0

20.0

Arab Emirates

27.4

24.0

Argentina

29.4

23.5

Armenia

30.9

27.5

Australia

41.5

36.7

Austria

36.0

28.2

Azerbaijan

32.0

16.0

Bahamas

32.0

27.0

Bahrain

33.8

33.0

Bangladesh

30.7

26.8

Barbados

29.0

24.3

Belarus

30.0

24.7

Belgium

34.0

31.1

Belize

32.0

28.0

Benin

24.0

20.0

Bhutan

24.0

17.0

Bolivia

28.0

32.0

Bosnia

30.1

25.3

Botswana

30.0

25.0

Brazil

29.4

24.4

Brunei

32.8

22.4

Bulgaria

31.4

26.3

Burkina Faso

27.4

22.6

Burundi

28.0

20.0

Cambodia

31.0

26.5

Cameroon

25.1

17.9

Canada

42.4

40.3

Cape Verde

26.4

22.0

Central Africa

24.0

12.0

Chad

24.0

24.0

Chile

32.0

29.2

China

35.9

37.3

Colombia

33.9

24.8

Comoros

28.0

24.0

Congo (Rep)

24.0

26.0

Congo Dem Rep

32.0

20.0

Cook Islands

24.0

22.0

Costa Rica

24.0

16.0

Croatia

33.2

27.2

Cuba

26.2

21.8

Cyprus (Turkish Rep)

28.0

24.0

Cyprus-Republic

33.3

26.8

Czech Republic

33.8

30.9

Denmark

35.5

30.6

Djibouti

31.7

23.6

Dominican Republic

28.7

24.0

Dominica

26.7

33.0

East Timor

32.6

20.0

Ecuador

28.3

23.2

Egypt

28.0

28.0

El Salvador

28.1

26.1

Equatorial Guinea

24.0

16.0

Eritrea

24.0

12.0

Estonia

30.9

28.5

Ethiopia

30.3

24.0

Fiji

30.4

22.8

Finland

35.5

29.1

France

33.8

32.8

Gabon

16.0

21.0

Gambia

29.4

26.0

Georgia

30.8

25.3

Germany

34.4

35.0

Ghana

26.3

23.0

Great Britain

37.7

33.0

Greece

30.9

28.1

Grenada

25.0

20.3

Guatemala

28.0

21.3

Guinea

22.7

20.0

Guinea-Bissau

29.0

20.0

Guyana

26.0

28.0

Haiti

30.0

22.0

Honduras

28.2

21.7

Hong Kong

34.5

33.7

Hungary

29.9

25.4

Iceland

34.3

28.1

India

30.1

29.6

Indonesia

24.0

32.0

Iran

28.0

29.0

Iraq

24.0

34.0

Ireland

29.4

29.9

Israel

33.3

32.3

Italy

33.2

33.2

Ivory Coast

32.0

24.0

Jamaica

28.9

23.4

Japan

34.2

30.8

Jordan

30.8

29.7

Kazakhstan

28.4

24.0

Kenya

25.7

20.0

Kiribati

27.0

12.0

Kuwait

30.7

30.1

Kyrgyzstan

26.9

19.4

Laos

19.0

25.3

Latvia

30.9

28.0

Lebanon

30.7

29.0

Lesotho

21.7

16.7

Liberia

20.0

12.0

Libya

24.0

24.0

Liechtenstein

26.5

33.0

Lithuania

30.5

27.3

Luxembourg

28.7

29.6

Macedonia

28.0

24.0

Madagascar

24.0

26.0

Malawi

22.7

19.3

Malaysia

36.7

26.2

Maldives

35.2

29.0

Mali

28.0

22.0

Malta

27.6

31.4

Marshall Islands

20.0

32.0

Mauritania

28.0

26.0

Mauritius

26.5

22.2

Mexico

33.7

29.6

Micronesia

30.5

16.0

Moldova

28.0

32.0

Monaco

24.5

39.0

Mongolia

28.6

25.7

Morocco

28.9

25.6

Mozambique

25.5

22.3

Myanmar

28.0

28.0

Namibia

26.2

20.0

Nauru

16.0

12.0

Nepal

32.5

23.2

Netherlands

34.3

31.0

New Zealand

35.5

33.6

Nicaragua

29.2

23.9

Niger

26.0

20.0

Nigeria

29.0

24.0

Niue

28.0

24.0

North Korea

32.0

28.0

Norway

33.2

27.0

Oman

29.8

28.5

Pakistan

29.1

24.6

Palau

32.0

29.0

Panama

28.0

26.4

Papua New Guinea

22.4

19.9

Paraguay

26.7

21.2

Peru

31.3

26.7

Philippines

35.5

27.6

Poland

32.2

28.6

Portugal

33.6

26.0

Qatar

32.0

28.3

Romania

32.8

27.5

Russia

29.3

23.3

Rwanda

25.3

21.2

Samoa

28.0

20.2

San Marino

24.2

23.0

Sao Tome

32.0

16.0

Saudi Arabia

31.8

30.7

Senegal

28.0

21.6

Serbia and Montenegro

32.3

27.5

Seychelles

28.0

19.3

Sierra Leone

24.0

24.0

Singapore

46.3

43.8

Slovakia

32.8

27.9

Slovenia

32.0

27.7

Solomon Islands

19.2

19.0

Somalia

32.0

12.0

Somaliland

32.0

20.0

South Africa

31.8

24.2

South Korea

30.0

30.5

Spain

31.3

26.5

Sri Lanka

24.0

24.0

St. Kitts

28.0

17.3

St. Lucia

35.0

27.0

St. Vincent

28.0

32.0

Sudan

30.0

26.3

Suriname

20.0

16.0

Swaziland

25.0

22.0

Sweden

31.8

29.8

Switzerland

35.9

27.6

Syria

32.0

20.0

Taiwan

41.3

44.3

Tajikistan

34.0

20.0

Tanzania

23.3

17.0

Thailand

32.4

27.6

Togo

32.0

36.0

Tonga

24.0

16.0

Trinidad

29.5

23.8

Tunisia

32.2

23.2

Turkey

38.3

27.6

Turkmenistan

28.0

24.0

Tuvalu

28.0

12.0

Uganda

27.7

21.8

Ukraine

31.6

25.8

United States

45.3

41.9

Uruguay

28.5

21.7

Uzbekistan

32.0

28.3

Vanuatu

20.0

16.0

Vatican

36.5

26.0

Venezuela

28.7

23.2

Vietnam

30.5

26.5

Yemen

28.9

24.5

Zambia

26.1

22.7

Zimbabwe

24.0

22.0

 

 

 

Table A-3  Individual Country Profiles for Selected Features, 2004

 

Online Services

Publications

Data bases

Privacy Policy

Security Policy

W3C Disability

Accessibility

Afghanistan

100%

100%

0%

0%

0%

0%

Albania

0

90

40

0

0

0

Algeria

12

80

44

0

0

4

Andorra

0

100

89

0

0

0

Angola

0

100

0

0

0

0

Antigua

0

100

0

0

0

0

Arab Emirates

0

60

40

0

0

0

Argentina

12

100

65

6

0

0

Armenia

17

100

83

0

0

0

Australia

65

97

68

97

23

61

Austria

20

100

40

20

0

40

Azerbaijan

0

0

0

0

0

0

Bahamas

100

0

0

100

0

0

Bahrain

33

67

100

0

0

0

Bangladesh

17

83

67

0

0

17

Barbados

25

50

50

0

0

25

Belarus

0

100

83

0

0

0

Belgium

33

100

83

8

0

17

Belize

0

100

50

25

25

0

Benin

0

50

50

0

0

0

Bhutan

100

0

0

0

0

0

Bolivia

0

100

100

0

0

0

Bosnia

0

56

56

0

0

0

Botswana

50

100

50

0

0

0

Brazil

7

100

71

0

0

14

Brunei

0

40

20

0

0

0

Bulgaria

0

100

57

0

0

14

Burkina Faso

60

100

20

0

0

0

Burundi

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cambodia

0

88

50

0

0

0

Cameroon

9

27

36

0

0

0

Canada

29

97

87

90

23

81

Cape Verde

0

75

75

0

0

0

Central Africa

0

0

0

0

0

0

Chad

0

100

0

0

0

0

Chile

14

100

93

21

7

7

China-Mainland

48

100

100

35

35

0

China -Taiwan

46

100

100

50

54

0

Colombia

0

100

80

0

0

0

Comoros

0

100

100

0

0

100

Congo-Dem Rep

0

100

0

0

0

0

Congo-Rep

100

100

100

0

0

0

Cook Islands

0

100

50

0

0

0

Costa Rica

0

100

0

0

0

0

Cote d'Ivoire

0

100

100

0

0

0

Croatia

0

100

100

0

0

0

Cuba

0

44

56

0

0

22

Cyprus-Rep

11

67

67

0

0

11

Cyprus-Turk

0

100

0

0

0

0

Czech Rep

7

100

80

0

0

47

Denmark

0

100

79

0

0

43

Djibouti

0

90

40

0

0

0

Dominica

100

100

100

100

0

0

Dominican Rep

0

100

100

0

0

0

East Timor

0

67

8

0

0

8

Ecuador

8

100

69

0

0

0

Egypt

0

100

100

0

0

0

El Salvador

38

100

88

0

0

0

Eq Guinea

0

0

0

0

0

0

Eritrea

0

0

0

0

0

0

Estonia

9

91

100

0

0

0

Ethiopia

0

80

20

0

0

0

Fiji

8

92

50

0

0

0

Finland

20

100

67

7

0

33

France

38

100

91

0

0

6

Gabon

100

0

0

0

0

100

Gambia

0

75

50

0

0

0

Georgia

0

78

56

0

0

11

Germany

80

97

90

50

23

13

Ghana

20

100

50

0

0

0

Great Britain

45

97

52

62

41

55