Sri Lanka and Korea topped this year's FutureGov Awards tally, leading a field that contained more than 800 nominations from 20 different countries, confirming the awards as Asia's foremost celebration of public sector modernisation.
An open source project to provide a standardised set of software tools for developing and running e-Government applications in Korea swept three awards, alongside Sri Lanka's lead ICT agency.
The E-government Standard Framework, by the Korean Ministry of Public Administration and Security, won the Government Organisation of the Year, the Technology Leadership Award and the award for Government Transformation of the Year.
The project’s portal, eGovframe, encourages voluntarily participation through open source software — from developers, suppliers and government officials — into the implementation process.
It consists of four software environments: runtime environment for applications, development environment for application developers, management environment for framework managers, and operations environment for application operators.
The open source initiative has led to continuous enhancements of the ministrys services through an open community, with quarterly meetings between experts and a collaboration forum of public-private partnerships.
Alongside Korea, the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka netted three awards: the Service Innovation Award for the Sri Lanka GovSMS Portal; Public Sector Organisation of the Year Award for its open source portal, Lanka Gate; and, an award for Digital Inclusion for Nenasala, a government initiative to provide access to diverse and unrestricted sources of information and means of communication to all the citizens.
Koreas National Computing and Information Agency won the Data Centre Award at the FutureGov Awards dinner.
Singapores Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) won the Wireless Government Award for its mobile government initiative, iConnect.
Beijings Anzheng Hospital Project won the Healthcare Organisation of the Year with its Clinic Mobile Information System.
The annual e-government award went to Yesser, the Saudi Governments e-government transformation, maturity methodology.
Malaysias Ministry of Education won the Education Organisation of the Year Award for its Benchmarking Rural Smart School Programme.
The awards were judged by an expert panel including Laurence Millar, Editor-at-Large, FutureGov Asia Pacific magazine, and former Government Chief Information Officer of New Zealand; Dr Prajapati Trivedi, the Chief Performance Officer of the Government of India; and, Bob Correll, Deputy Secretary & CIO of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship from the Government of Australia.
Internet users to exceed 2 billion this year
GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of Internet users will surpass two billion this year, approaching a third of the world population, but developing countries need to step up access to the vital tool for economic growth, a United Nations agency said on Tuesday.
Users have doubled in the past five years, and compare with an estimated global population of 6.9 billion, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said.
Of 226 million new Internet users this year, 162 million will be from developing countries where growth rates are now higher, the ITU said in a report.
However, by the end of 2010, 71 percent of the population in developed countries will be online compared with 21 percent of people in developing countries.
The ITU said it was particularly important for developing countries to build up high-speed connections.
“Broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure, of Mali. “It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity and underpin long-term economic competitiveness.”
Access varies widely by region, with 65 percent of people online in Europe, ahead of 55 percent in the Americas, compared with only 9.6 percent of the population in Africa and 21.9 percent in Asia/Pacific, the ITU said.
Access to the Internet in schools, at work and in public places is critical for developing countries, where only 13.5 percent of people have the Internet at home, against 65 percent in developed countries, it said.
A study last week by another U.N. agency showed that mobile phones were a far more important communications technology for people in the poorest developing countries than the Internet.