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EXAMINATION INTO THE EFFECT OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ON EFFICIENCY OF STATE ADMINISTRATION IN CAMEROON

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EXAMINATION INTO THE EFFECT OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ON EFFICIENCY OF STATE ADMINISTRATION IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

All over the word government institution has evolved into adoption of digital tools to transform their practices and processes for state administration and public service delivery. Digital transformation, as defined by Westerman, Bonnet, and McAfee (2019), entails the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the opportunities provided by digital technologies. In the context of state administration in developing countries, digital transformation refers to the adoption and integration of digital technologies and practices across government functions to enhance service delivery, improve governance, and foster socio-economic development. This encompasses a wide range of initiatives, including but not limited to e-government services, digital infrastructure development, data-driven decision-making, and digital literacy programs aimed at empowering citizens and enhancing their participation in governance processes (Molla & Licker, 2020).

Prevalently, digital transformation in developing countries varies widely depending on factors such as technological infrastructure, government policies, and socio-economic conditions. According to a report by the World Bank (2018), while digital technologies are increasingly pervasive in many developing countries, the extent of digital transformation in state administration remains uneven. In some countries, governments have made significant strides in leveraging digital technologies to improve service delivery, enhance governance, and foster economic development. For example, countries like Estonia and Rwanda have been recognized for their successful implementation of e-government initiatives, which have led to greater efficiency, transparency, and citizen engagement (Kitschelt & Wilkinson, 2017; UN E-Government Survey, 2020).

In Cameroon, digital transformation has shown promise is in e-government initiatives. Cameroon has implemented several digital platforms and online services to improve citizen access to government services and enhance administrative efficiency. These include the tax administration, the General Delegation for National Security, and the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform (MINFOPRA). According to Zainab (2022) in the realm of tax administration, the adoption of digital technologies such as digitized statistical and tax declarations, as well as the introduction of direct tax payments via mobile money, has yielded significant benefits. These advancements have enabled citizens to save time and mitigate engagement in informal transactions, thus reducing avenues for corruption. Furthermore, the tax administration's commitment to digitizing street addresses since October 2021 has facilitated taxpayer location, enhancing the efficiency of tax collection procedures and contributing to revenue optimization and tax base expansion.

Furthermore, The General Delegation for National Security (DGSN), responsible for police affairs, embarked on digital transformation initiatives, notably the digitization of passport production processes since July 1, 2021. This initiative according to World Bank (2020) report has streamlined document filing and fee payments for passport issuance, leading to expedited file processing and a drastic reduction in waiting times. Consequently, the turnaround time for obtaining passports has been reduced to less than 48 hours, significantly enhancing service delivery efficiency. The digitalization of policing by the police represents a pertinent example of enhancing public services. The deployment of 3,500 cameras across the national territory has bolstered citizen confidence in state security measures, as the video surveillance system has intercepted numerous incidents, thereby contributing to crime prevention and public safety. Regarding the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reform, digitalization efforts have focused on enhancing user interaction and streamlining administrative processes. The introduction of the "You and Us" platform has facilitated user engagement, while digitalization initiatives in administrative note management, correspondence handling, and recruitment procedures for public service positions have further optimized administrative efficiency and service delivery. According to Minette Libom Li Likeng, 2020),  the government launched the "National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies" (ANTIC) to oversee the digitization of public services and promote ICT infrastructure development (Minette Libom Li Likeng, 2020). Additionally, initiatives such as the introduction of online tax filing systems and digital payment platforms aim to streamline administrative procedures and reduce bureaucratic hurdles for businesses and citizens.

Concurently, digital transformation plays a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of state administration in developing countries by optimizing processes, expanding service reach, and fostering citizen engagement. By leveraging digital technologies effectively, governments can overcome administrative challenges, improve service delivery, and ultimately contribute to the socio-economic development and well-being of their citizens (World Bank, 2016).

Statement of Problem

Is not doubt that the adoption of digital transformation in state administration in developing countries like Cameroon holds immense significance for enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in governance. According to Heeks (2021), digital technologies offer opportunities to streamline bureaucratic processes, minimize paperwork, and reduce administrative overheads, ultimately leading to cost savings and resource optimization. By digitizing administrative tasks such as citizen registration, tax filing, and procurement processes, governments can significantly improve operational efficiency and service delivery (UN E-Government Survey, 2020).  In a report by UN DESA, (2018) digital transformation enables governments to overcome geographical barriers and reach remote and underserved populations more effectively. By offering online services and digital platforms, governments can provide access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and financial assistance to citizens in rural areas who may have limited physical access to government offices. This not only enhances the inclusivity of public services but also contributes to reducing disparities in access to government services between urban and rural population. 

Similarly, Kitschelt & Wilkinson, (2017) maintained that digital technologies empower citizens by providing them with greater access to information, participation in decision-making processes, and avenues for feedback and grievance redressal. Through online portals, mobile applications, and social media platforms, citizens can interact with government agencies, report issues, and track the status of their applications in real-time, fostering transparency and accountability in governance (Bannister & Connolly, 2016). This increased citizen engagement not only improves the quality of public services but also enhances public trust in government institutions (UNDP, 2019). However, challenges such as inadequate digital infrastructure, limited internet connectivity, and low digital literacy rates persist, hindering the widespread adoption and effective utilization of digital technologies in state administration (Ngaleu, 2019). 

While urban centers may have better access to digital services, rural areas often face significant digital divides, exacerbating disparities in service delivery and access to information (Nkengne & Nguefack-Tsague, 2019). Furthermore, bureaucratic resistance to change, coupled with institutional inefficiencies and corruption, poses significant obstacles to the successful implementation of digital transformation initiatives (Ngalim & Fonjong, 2020). Even though some studies has reveeled the potentials of digital transformation in public service delivery, there dearth of literature on what it holds for developing countries like Cameroon. Against this backdrop, the study is conducted on examination into the effect of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon.

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study is focused on examination into the effect of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon. Specifically, the study seeks to:

To examine the prevalence of digital transformation in Cameroon state administration.

Investigate the various digital transformation initiative taken up by Cameroon government.

Ascertain impact of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon.

Determine the challenges of adopting digital transformation in state administration in Cameroon.

Research Question 

What is the prevalence of digital transformation in Cameroon state administration?

What are the various digital transformation initiative taken up by Cameroon government?

 What are impact of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon?

What are the challenges of adopting digital transformation in state administration in Cameroon?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant impact of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon.

Ha: There is a significant impact of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon.

1.6 Significance of the Study

From a practical standpoint, this study holds significant implications for policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders involved in public sector reform and digital transformation efforts in Cameroon. By offering empirical evidence and actionable recommendations, the study equips decision-makers with valuable insights to inform policy formulation, strategic planning, and resource allocation related to Digitalization initiatives. Moreover, by identifying key challenges and opportunities, the study provides practical guidance for maximizing the benefits of digitalization within the civil service. Ultimately, the findings of this study have the potential to catalyze tangible improvements in service delivery, transparency, and accountability, thereby contributing to the overarching goal of enhancing governance effectiveness and fostering sustainable development in Cameroon.

Theoretically, the study contributes to understanding of ICT integration within the civil service context, particularly in the context of developing countries like Cameroon. By drawing on theoretical frameworks from fields such as public administration, information systems, and development studies, the study aims to elucidate the dynamics and determinants of ICT adoption and utilization within bureaucratic structures. Furthermore, by exploring concepts such as digital governance, e-government maturity models, and technological determinism, the study seeks to provide theoretical insights into the factors shaping the trajectory of ICT integration and its implications for governance effectiveness and public service delivery. Through its theoretical contributions, the study enriches academic discourse on ICT-enabled governance reforms and provides a conceptual foundation for future research endeavors in this area.

Scope of the Study

The scope of the study is focused on examination into the effect of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon. The content scope captures the prevalence of digital transformation in Cameroon state administration, the various digital transformation initiatives taken up by Cameroon government, impact of digital transformation on efficiency of state administration in Cameroon and the challenges of adopting digital transformation in state administration in Cameroon. Geographically, the study will cover Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform  (MINFOPRA) in Yaoundé .

Limitations of the Study

While the study aims to provide a comprehensive analysis, certain limitations may arise, such as constraints related to data availability, access to certain regions or institutions, and the inherent challenges of measuring and assessing corruption. Firstly, limited availability of data or access to official government records may constrain the depth and breadth of the analysis. Due to the case study approach focusing on specific Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform  (MINFOPRA) in Yaound. the findings may lack generalizability to other regions or countries. Therefore, caution will be exercised in extrapolating the results beyond the study context. More so, the study's sample selection process may introduce bias, as certain communities or demographic groups may be overrepresented or underrepresented. This could affect the validity and representativeness of the findings. Limited time and resources may restrict the scope of the study, impacting the depth of data collected and the comprehensiveness of the analysis. This could result in overlooking certain aspects or dynamics relevant to the research questions. Despite these limitations, the researcher will acknowledge and address these challenges transparently to enhance the credibility and rigor of the study.

1.9 Definition of terms

Digital transformation: Digital transformation in the context of state administration in Cameroon refers to the systematic integration and utilization of digital technologies, processes, and strategies within government agencies and institutions to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of administrative operations and service delivery. 

Public Service Delivery: Public service delivery refers to the provision of essential services, such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and social welfare, by government agencies and institutions to citizens and communities. It encompasses the planning, implementation, and monitoring of programs and initiatives aimed at meeting the needs and demands of the public in an efficient, effective, and equitable manner.

Efficiency of State Administration in Cameroon: Efficiency of state administration in Cameroon refers to the ability of government agencies and institutions to effectively utilize resources, optimize processes, and deliver public services in a timely, cost-effective, and transparent manner to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and stakeholders.


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