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Ethiopia: Ethiopian IT Success Stories Receive Recognition

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Metasebia Feleke
Addis Ababa

The Addis Abeba City Revenues Agency, formed after the restructuring of the Addis Abeba City Administration in 2003/2004, implemented an Integrated Revenue Management System (SIRM) programme funded by the City Administration.

Taking its own incentives, the Agency implemented SIRM, an automated, multilingual system which was developed for the assessment and collection of taxes. The system became fully operational in 2004/2005 and is now serving 150,000 regional and federal taxpayers that reside in the capital city on a daily basis. The system has 13 different sub-systems with seven major features that work in an integrated manner.

The system was set up by a local consultant and developer, Custor Computing.

According to the Agency, the revenue of the City Administration increased from 2.1 million Br in 2004/2005 to 2.4 million Br in 2005/2006. It was this system and its successful implementation that earned the Revenues Agency an award as one of the 12 innovative projects believed to take Africa forward in the field of information technology.

The first Technology in Government in Africa (TIGA) awards were held at the Sheraton Addis on Wednesday, May 2, 2007. The awards were inline with the Committee on Development Information (CODI) conference held at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for four days. The main sponsors of the event were the ECA and the Canadian government.

The awards were handed out in four categories; public service delivery to citizens, improved health services through the use of information communication technology (ITC), improved educational services through the use of ITC, and public-private partnership in economic and financial services delivery.

Kenya received the Automation of Secondary School Placement and Online Exam Result award. One of Ethiopia’s partners in the Nile Basin Initiative, Egypt received the award for using a new educational approach by integrating Information Technology (IT) literacy in education in preparatory schools through increased accessibility.

But the Revenues Agency was not the only local institution to receive recognition from TIGA. Over the past 10 to 12 years the Ethiopian Judiciary, with a huge demand for its services, has borne the brunt of serious criticism from reform agents.

The IT system that was implemented by the Federal Supreme and Federal High Courts three years ago has softened the harsh critics and brought ease to the people who are frequenters of these institutions.
The courts have implemented a touch screen information service that provides information on court cases, which departments handle what cases, employees of the court and their job descriptions. The touch screens were involved in more than 15,000 court.

Accordingly, the Federal Supreme Court received the award for Court Administration Reform to make legal redress accessible to citizens and saving the time that they spend at these institutions.

“ITC is a means to an end and the award shows us that we are on the right track.” Menberetsehay Tadesse vice president of the Supreme Court told Fortune.

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