Wednesday, October 04, 2006

e-Government and South-Africa (3)

The second day of the conference was very good. The Gambian delegation had arrived with its minister of communication and information technology, Ms Neneh Gaye (see photograph). The South African deputy minister of communication, Mr Radahakrishna (Roy) Padayachie, scheduled for a key note address after the luncheon, sent a fax that he was unable to be present due to unforeseen circumstances; he was not aware that the Gambian minister was present, as she was traveling incognito. The good news was that his Director General of information management, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, turned up in time to help bring the conference to an end. Today I was again the chairman of the morning and afternoon sessions.

The morning session was mainly devoted to project and risk management. We started out with a panel discussion on this topic. The panelist from the private sector gave some insight in the working of a hacker, but also the weak points of an organization. Basically their message was that technology is not the weakest point, but the organization itself and the people in the organization. It is not enough to solve this with an ethical hacker, a good guy showing the weak points in the organization and the system.

It struck me this morning that this conference program was very governmental institutional centric, talking about the home affairs office, the ministry of health, the special architecture offices and the ministry of communication. The aspect of citizens was not touched very much. I guess this programming shows in what state South Africa with regard to the e-government development.

To me the before luncheon speaker Raj Kumar Prasad (see photograph) was very welcome. Not because he appeared to be a friend of my fellow WSA board member Osama Manzar from India, but he is a charismatic speaker producing a vision. He spoke on e-governance and superseded in this way the government centric approach. His formulation of e-governance really struck me: e-governance means use of the connected computer with loaded content to deliver citisenscentric services (Government to Consumer or Government to Business).

In the afternoon we were going to have the keynote address from the South-African deputy minister of communication, but he did not show up. So he had an official replace him, who read the speech and took no question. After that three roundtables were organized with a report back presentation. The conference was closed with a panel formed by a DG of the communication department and a representative of SAP.

During the day I had a chance to present the World Summit Award to the Gambian minister and later also to Lyndall Shope-Mafole, the DG of the communication department. It was a good chance to position the World Summit Award. It turned out that the South African DG had helped to obtain the cooperation of President Mbeki for the gala last year.

Tomorrow there will be two Master classes: one on VoIP and one on building a WiFi network. It is not exactly my cup of tea, but being her I might as well be present. I guess that I will learn to know more people.

(Photographs will follow; problems with uploading)


Blog Posting Number 529

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