eGov and iGov are familiar concepts to many of us. Now Japan has rolled out its U-Japan initiative. The concept is to make information and communication available to everyone everywhere. It is about ubiquitous networks. Japan's strategy was to be the world's most advanced ICT nation by 2005. After that time, Japan would have to compete with no one, since it would be the world leader. The initiative states that ICT is "the magic bullet" to solve many societal problems, including environment, health care, public safety, etc., particularly for a Japanese nation that is faced with a declining birthrate and an aging society.
In the six months since I have been on a reduced blogging regimen, much has happened and there are many new egov blogs. Zeid Nasser of Jordan points out how ICT Minister, Omar Al Kurdi, admits to failures in Jordan's 6-year eGov initiative. Al Kurdi points to resistance in the bureaucracy and poor infrastructure as problems contributing to the failure. My Arabic is very poor so I can't assess the ministry very well. Interesting to note that Queen Rania of Jordan had a previous career in technology. Here are some comments she made in a recent speech on education, "The same hi-tech that has enabled business to reach beyond geographic boundaries has also created rich opportunities to expand educational boundaries – by using computers to link young people to a universe of knowledge. And at the same time, there are new incentives for public-private collaboration – because improving education is a smart investment for corporations that need skilled workers and prosperous consumers if they are to thrive. Jordan, led by His Majesty King Abdullah, has embraced these opportunities. Education, innovation and information technology are the watchwords of our reforms. We may be a small country, but we have big ideas – and big ambitions for our young population. That is why, in 2003, we proposed a bold educational experiment to the WEF – combining public sector commitment with private sector creativity… and using new technology to inspire new ways of teaching."