Governments live under constant pressure to meet the growing needs of their citizens with limited resources available. Countries around the world have addressed this issue by modernizing government management through the implementation of innovative e-government programs. Colombia, Uruguay, and Panama were recognized as e-government champions by the 2013 version of the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report. In Panama, thanks to PanamaEmprende, entrepreneurs can set-up a company in 15 minutes. Internet connections have more than tripled in Colombia in less than three years. In Uruguay technology exports have more than quadrupled in a decade thanks to the support the government has provided to small and mid-size tech enterprises.
Colombia’s political investment in ICTs initiated 14 years ago with the release of the National Council for Economic and Social Policy’s policy agenda for the 21st Century. The strategic document became a road map for the development of the Colombian Knowledge-based society. Colombia’s e-government success is the product of a.) Strong political support, b.) The use of ICT as a state policy, c.) Sufficient Financial Resources, d.) Addressing Citizens’ concerns, e.) International Cooperation, and f.) Institutional and workforce capacity. Uruguay also started investing in ICTs in the late 1990s and its ICT success can be attribute, among other things, to the nurturing of tis local ICT businesses. In the case of Panama, e-government success is the result of extraordinary political support from the president and cabinet members.
Despite the astonishing progress Colombia, Uruguay, and Panama have achieved in terms of e-government, many challenges still remain visible: a.) millions of people still can’t afford to access the internet and b.) funds to expand the digital infrastructure of these countries are limited.
For more information about e-government in Colombia, Uruguay, and Panama, please refer to Chapter 2.3 of the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report available here.