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The UN’s assessment of South Korea’s e-government system
Source: KBS World, http://rki.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_commentary_detail.htm?No=18676
Source Date: Friday, June 25, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Republic of Korea
Created: Jun 28, 2010

South Korea has ranked first in the United Nations Global E-Government Survey. The achievement bears great significance as it is expected to serve as the starting point of globalizing South Korea’s e-government expertise. The country’s advanced IT systems and the government’s strong commitment to the IT industry have converged to build the most efficient e-government system available.

On behalf of the South Korean government, Public Administration and Security Minister Maeng Hyung-kyu received this year’s “global grand prize” at the award ceremony, held during U.N. Public Service Day celebrations held in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday. The global grand prize honors the world’s number one in terms of e-government system. The U.N. Global E-Government Survey is a biannual comparative report that has evaluated e-government prowess among the 192 UN member states since 2002. The evaluation aims to facilitate benchmarking and the sharing of experiences and know-how by comparing the e-governments of member countries.

E-government refers to an electronic system designed to improve government efficiency and competitiveness through a systematic network of public administration. It may sound natural for Korea, an IT powerhouse, to perform well in the electronic government system, but advanced technology alone is not enough to establish a top-notch e-government system. It requires advanced IT systems, public administration expertise and know-how, a sufficient budget and the government’s strong commitment.

In fact, the South Korean government scored the highest in the “e-government development” index and “e-participation” index for measuring public engagement among the 192 United Nations member states. Specifically, the government was highly appraised for a systematic network for budgeting, taxation, civil complaints and other administration services.

The country’s grand-prize winning e-government system is also expected to serve as a model for many other countries planning to establish e-government systems. If the e-government system is a cutting-edge public administration system, then it can be said that South Korea has successfully transformed itself from an importer of administrative systems to an exporter of state-of-the-art administrative systems in the past six decades.

In fact, the country has signed contracts worth 73 million dollars with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other developing countries during the first half of this year, to export its know-how and technology for building e-government systems. The contracts signed during the past six months have already exceeded last year’s 67 million dollars.

In addition, Minister Maeng and Sha Zukang, a Chinese diplomat who is currently the U.N. undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, met at the award ceremony and agreed to jointly develop a U.N. electronic public administration system. The agreement means Korea’s e-government know-how will lay the groundwork for a U.N.-led, global e-government system. It is also expected to help facilitate Korea’s efforts to transfer its e-government systems and expertise to underdeveloped countries through the United Nations Official Development Assistance or ODA for short.

All in all, the highly-wired country, a world leader in e-government, is expected to lead the United Nations’ efforts to establish a global e-government system.
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