The study aimed to understand the contribution of information and communication technologies (ICT‘s) towards socio-economic development. Electronic Government (e-Government) projects are pervasive within the African continent as seen with the numerous governments that have expressed strategies outlining plans for the implementation of a variety of e-government initiatives. However, despite the elaborate strategic plans and policies, the core challenge remains with the minimal successful implementations of e-government projects.
In the face of this disappointment, the sentiment that ICT‘s do hold the potential to transform the trajectory of development remains. This research study focused on investigating how e-Government programmes and the emergent area of Transformational Government (t-Government) are currently conceptualised for developmental impacts. The study concerned itself with the overarching question: How is Transformational Government conceptualised within sub-Saharan Africa for Developmental Impacts?
The study relied on a critical realist philosophical paradigm to offer an explanatory critique of current e-Government programmes. To do this, the study conducted research at the national, provincial and local government levels supported by methodological pluralism comprising of intensive and extensive approaches. The study showed that our current conceptualisation within ICT enabled development initiatives is limited and problematic for attaining t-Government. It is overly technically focussed and alternatively requires a socio-technical understanding. The study argued that t-Government may be driven by several generative mechanisms and these include participatory governance coupled with transparency and trust in government. It also requires transformative technology and infrastructure innovation. Furthermore, there is a need for public sector operational effectiveness to be addressed. Finally it argued that the current gap in understanding across the various tiers of government may need formal and informal feedback procedures supported by monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
The study contributes to the dearth of research in the nascent t-Government domain. Its main theoretical contribution is the proposed conceptual framework for t-Government towards socio-economic development. Methodologically it offers an example of how critical realist case studies supported by methodological pluralism may be used to understand the trajectory of ICT driven projects within a developing country. Practically it proposes several principles to guide implementation when undertaking t-Government initiatives.