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Governments are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of employing e-government and e-governance in improving public service delivery to people. The potential of e-government, as a tool for development, hinges upon three prerequisites — a minimum threshold level of technological infrastructure, human capital, and e-connectivity for all. E-government development strategies and programs will be able to be effective and "include all" people only if, at the very minimum, all have functional literacy and education, which includes knowledge of computer and Internet use; all are connected to a computer; and all have access to the Internet. The primary challenge of e government for development therefore, is how to accomplish this.
To support the development efforts of UN member states efforts in e-government the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Division of Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) undertook to produce this survey. Building upon the report Benchmarking E-government: A Global Perspective, published in 2002, the 2003 Survey provides a benchmark to gauge the comparative state of e-government development and e-participation for development in a rapidly globalizing world. The 2003 survey is published as Part II of the World Public Sector Report 2003: E-government at the Crossroads.
Following the guidelines of global human development set out in the Millennium Development Goals, the Survey focuses on the issue of how willing and ready are the government around the world in employing the vast opportunities offered by e-government to improve the access, and quality, of basic economic and social services to the people and involve them in public policy making via e-participation.