Information and communications technologies (ICTs) are playing an increasingly vital role in the daily lives of people, revolutionizing work and leisure and changing the rules of doing business. In the realm of government, ICT applications are promising to enhance the delivery of public goods and services to citizens not only by improving the process and management of government, but also by redefining the traditional concepts of citizenship and democracy.

The effects of ICTs on societies are both far-reaching and uneven. On the one hand, ICT is fueling the transition from industrial-based economies to knowledge-based societies. On the other hand, ICT still has little or no impact in the lives of people in many countries. This wide disparity in the impact of ICT around the world today underscores the uneven progress of economic development. It also highlights the critical role of government in the information age.

The goal of this primer is to clarify the major issues surrounding e-government, as well as to provide readers with best practices in e-governance in the developing world. Leaders committed to e-government are demonstrating that by combining technology with new ways of operating, government can be made much more effective, transparent and responsive.