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EghtesadOnline: Iran improved its E-Government Development Index and ranked 86th in the world, according to the United Nations’ latest e-government survey.

In fact, Iran was one of the 17 countries among the 193 UN member states that transitioned from a middle to high EGDI group. 

The report, which is issued every two years, showed that Iran’s EGDI ranking, which measures the use of information and communications technologies to deliver public services, climbed 20 spots from the 106th place in 2016.  

“The Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22) has envisioned a 30-place improvement in Iran’s e-government development performance in five years. The [20-spot] improvement in just one year is of considerable significance,” Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted on Sunday, ACCORDING TO fINANCIAL tRIBUNE.

The EDGI ranges between 0 (lowest) and 1 (highest), as “a weighted average of normalized scores on the three most important dimensions of e-government”. The index values are not intended as absolute measurements. Rather, they capture the online performance of countries relative to each other at a particular point in time. Because the index is a comparative tool, a high score is an indication of best current practice rather than perfection. Similarly, a very low score, or a score that has not changed since the survey’s last edition in 2016, does not mean there has been no progress in e-government development.

The scope and quality of online services is indicated by the Online Service Index, the status of the development of telecommunications infrastructure rated through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index and the inherent human capital scored through the Human Capital Index.

According to the UN data, Iran’s EGDI value was 0.6083 this year, while the figure was 0.4649 two years ago. In terms of sub-items, the country got 0.6319 in OSI, 0.4566 in TII and 0.7364 in HCI this year.

The Online Services Index component of the E-Government Development Index is a composite indicator measuring the use of ICTs by governments in delivering public services at the national level. It is based on a comprehensive survey of the online presence of all 193 member states. The survey assesses the technical features of national websites as well as e-government policies and strategies applied in general and by specific sectors in delivering services.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure Index is an arithmetic average composite of five indicators: The first indicator is the “estimated number of Internet users per 100 inhabitants”. The International Telecommunications Union, which has been the primary source of UN E-Government Survey’s data, estimated that Iran has 53.23 Internet users per 100 inhabitants. 

The second indicator is the number of main fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants, which is estimated to be 38.24 for Iran. The number of mobile subscribers per 100 inhabitants is the third indicator for measuring TII. According to the data, Iran has 100.3 mobile phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants. 

The number of wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants—the fourth indicator—in Iran is estimated to be 33.85 while the number of fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants—the fifth indicator—in Iran stands at 11.61.  

The Human Capital Index consists of four components, namely: (i) adult literacy rate; (ii) the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio; (iii) expected years of schooling; and (iv) average years of schooling. 

The index value of adult literacy in Iran, according to the data of the United Nations Development Program in 2015, was measured to be 86.8%. The index value of gross enrollment ratio was 90.34%, according to the 2015 data by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 

Expected years of schooling in Iran were estimated to stand at 14.93 based on UNESCO’s data of 2015 while the mean year of schooling in Iran was measured to be 8.8 as per the UNDP data in 2015. 

   E-Participation Index

The concept of leaving no one behind pertains to inclusive digital participation. The use of online tools can enhance access to information and public services, in addition to promoting better public policy decision-making. 

The E-Participation Index is derived as a supplementary index to the United Nations E-Government Survey, which measures e-participation based on: (i) e-information, or availability of online information; (ii) e-consultation, or online public consultations, and (iii) e-decision-making, or directly involving citizens in the decision-making process. 

According to the UN report, Iran also recorded significant improvement in the e-participation index, rising 38 spots, from 149 in 2016 to 111 in 2018. With the index value of 0.5281, Iran is among countries with high EPI levels (of between 0.50 and 0.75).

Referring to the first attempt to benchmark the state of e-government in 2001, the UN noted that it has been globally growing rapidly over the past 17 years.

“The 2018 survey highlights a persistent positive global trend toward higher levels of e-government development,” the survey concludes.

“In this edition (2018), 40 countries score very high, with EGDI values in the range of 0.75 to 1.00, as compared to only 10 countries in 2003 and 29 countries in 2016.”

Denmark, Australia and South Korea are top countries in terms of EGDI this year.

Prioritizing the establishment of electronic government was one of the general missions assigned by President Hassan Rouhani to his ministers at the outset of his second term in office. 

Back in April, Rouhani called for more and meaningful efforts to curb corruption in state institutions and boost transparency across the political spectrum by improving e-governance in a gathering of senior government managers in Tehran 

According to the UN E-Government Survey report, governments can no longer provide services unilaterally and disregard demands for a more efficient and accountable use of public funds. 

Information and communication technologies can improve transparency by providing access to information, which also increases accountability and oversight on government performance. 

ICTs also promote participation through the two-way sharing of knowledge and experiences between governments and citizens. That makes it possible to jointly create public services and collaborate on evidence-based decision and policymaking, both in the national government and across borders. In short, ICTs are a game-changing enabler.

 

United Nations E-Gov’t Survey E-Government Development Index