ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s hosting of the recent third Global E-Government Forum under the auspices of the United Nations is part of the country’s effort to develop an effective and user-friendly e-government platform.
“We are dedicated to simplifying the mechanism of interaction between businesses and the state. E-procurement, electronic document management, e-tax, e-licensing, information systems, as well as the payment of pensions and benefits have already shown to be effective. Furthermore, the cloud platform will create an ‘open government’ and thus increase the transparency of public authorities to businesses and the public,” said Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov, who attended the forum along with UN Deputy Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, government officials, scholars and leading international experts in the field of ICT from more than 70 countries.
Kazakhstan has been developing e-government for nine years and offers its citizens more than 500 services, the most popular of which include the issuance of address references authenticating a person’s living location and providing references for property ownership, pension savings and business ownership.
Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister for Investment and Development Askar Zhumagaliev also announced during the forum titled, “Smart Governance for Sustainable Development: New Opportunities of Partnership in the Networked Society,” that Kazakh government services will also soon be available through mobile phones. “The next stage of development of e-government is the development of mobile government. We’d like to launch about 50 of the most popular services this year. Further, within three years almost all existing services are supposed to be transferred to mobile government,” he said.
Also planned are regional centres of excellence where countries can share knowledge and experience. “We are ready to become a centre of excellence and expertise in the region of Central Asia,” Zhumagaliyev said.
The Kazakh e-government portal has undergone four developmental stages already. The first stage was informational. At the time the electronic government web-portal was launched it was filled with information about state agencies, their work and the services they deliver to citizens. The second stage of development was interactive. It was marked by the start of the provision of e-services. The users of the web-portal were able to send requests to state agencies via their own computers. The third stage of the electronic government development was a transactional one. At this stage, citizens were able to pay for state taxes and fees, fines and utility services.
The fourth and current stage of the electronic government is transformational. The main aim now is to provide services to citizens with maximum efficiency. For the achievement of this target, interactive and transaction services were combined within the complex services that are demanded by the citizens of Kazakhstan. Since the beginning of the year, Kazakh citizens have been able to register a legal entity in just 15 minutes as well as request an ID card, passport or driver’s license.
“In the short term, we’ll become witness to the development of the world’s best e-government in Kazakhstan,” South Korean First Deputy Minister of Security and Public Administration Bahk Gyurng Goog told the forum. This year is the first time the forum has been held outside of South Korea.
Building an effective e-government is not easy and requires institutional agencies at all levels of government to be efficient, transparent, accountable and democratic, Wu Hongbo told the forum. E-government increases the quality of public administration and increases the efficiency of public services and the civil service as a whole. It also promotes greater involvement of stakeholders in the process of reforming the public sector and increases access to information, he said, adding that Central Asian countries are making progress on developing e-governments.
“Analysis of the development of e-government in 2014 showed that the Central Asian region countries are working at all levels to promote and develop e-government,” Wu Hongbo said.