E-Government in Kazakhstan: Challenges and Its Role
Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan
Published online: 9 July 2009
# Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009
Abstract This paper critically examines the progress made in introducing and implementing e-government programs and policies in Kazakhstan. It argues that in order to achieve the articulated development goals, the Kazakh government has moved toward e-government paradigm to ascertain a people-centered, accountable and transparent government. Available data substantiates that the initiative faces several challenges such as political support and relationship between political institutions, bureaucracy and citizens, digital divide, widespread corruption, lack of human resources, and inadequate infrastructural development, which needs to be amputated to improve public service delivery. This study illustrates some international development experiences to understand the benefit of e-government. Such experiences may serve as policy guidelines to the successful implementation of e-government to ensure overall development in Kazakhstan.
Keywords Development . E-government . Kazakhstan . Service delivery
Electronic governance has been widely endorsed as a solution to a range of predicaments in the public sector. With promises of decreasing corruption, cutting red tape, reducing government costs, and fluctuating participatory governance, the egovernance revolution has swept most nations, capturing the imaginations of policy makers and attracting the interests of citizens and business alike (Salem 2006). Electronic government evolves swiftly through defined stages, beginning with a web presence of public agencies (“interaction”) to a means for citizens around the clock seven days a week in the convenience of their homes (“transaction”) (Netchaeva 2002). This essentially creates a new ground for public sector operation. The S. H. Bhuiyan (*)
Department of Public Administration, Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP), 4 Abai Avenue, Almaty 050010, Kazakhstan e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
sequence of stages was depicted as inevitable, fueled by technology, citizen demand, and economic realities in the public sector (Mayer-Schönberger and Lazer 2007). The prime objective of any technological innovation is to improve the quality of human condition. This cannot be achieved by technological advances alone. First and foremost, they have to be successfully applied to human society. Such an approach is significant for governance and public administration because of its impact on a larger section of the society (Sharma 2002). To reap benefit of the information and communication technology (ICT), international development agencies are paying considerable attention to the gradual improvement of egovernment, particularly in developing countries. The most recent United Nations Report entitled e-Government Survey 2008: From e-Government to Connected Governance succinctly illustrates the importance of e-governance: ‘E-government can contribute significantly to the process of transformation of the government towards a leaner, more cost-effective government. It can facilitate communication and improve the coordination of authorities at different tiers of government, within organizations and even at the departmental level’ (UN 2008, p.xii). In the same vein, the 2001 Human Development Report entitled Making New Technologies Work for Human Development, commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), clearly portrays the role of ICT for development as it stated: ‘[I]t is time for a new partnership between technology and development. Human Development Report 2001 is intended as the manifesto for that partnership’ (UNDP 2001, p. iii). Again, in the United Nations system, the World Bank launched an e-government website, and in...