April 2008

Economic Development through e-Governance

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gtz  German Technical Cooperation

Information is a driver for development

Nargis Begum, mother of four children, is a crop farmer in Bangladesh. One day she found out that her beans were affected by a disease. She approached the local ICT centre where she received the available information on the treatment for a small amount of money (8 US Cents).

Mrs. Begum saved her year's produce worth BDT 1,500  (US$ 22).

This is only one of the many cases in which 'Katalyst' facilitated activities that improved the lives of rural people. Implemented by German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) International Services and Swisscontact, Katalyst is replicating the rural information centre model in partnership with Grameen Telecom and Grameen Phone on a much bigger scale in Bangladesh.

Similarly, successful projects in the field of international cooperation are being implemented in over 120 countries. In India, GTZ has been actively involved for almost 40 years, partnering with the central government and various state agencies. Based on their world-wide experiences, GTZ has built up a strong expertise in the field of capacity development and dealing with complex reforms and change processes. e-Governance is one important element of the overall portfolio, incorporating more than 30 years of experience in implementing  good governance projects all over the world.

Given the Indian interest in e-Governance and Germany's successful experiences with large e-Governance schemes, the Indian and German governments decided to cooperate on that ground. In a jointly signed cooperation agreement, they started a 21 million EURO (about 1211 million INR) project called 'Economic Development through e-Governance' in 2007. The project is currently implemented by the Indian Standardisation and Testing Quality Certification (STQC) and GTZ.

The cooperation aims at developing an e-Governance Conformity Assessment Framework (CAF), using Germany's 'Standards and Architectures for e-Government applications as a reference point. The CAF will improve the quality of  e-Governance applications and services and increase the user's confidence in the use of online solutions.

Moreover, specific trainings will be designed for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), enabling them to access e-Governance services as users, as well as to create business through e-Governance, giving more people access to the most valuable resource of the modern world – information.

As Naris Begum from Bangladesh said: “Information provided by the rural ICT centre not only saved my beans but also saved my family, as my four children and the livelihoods of my paralysed husband depends on me.”

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