Local Governorates Project
Ministry Of State For Administrative Development
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The Problem

Egypt now suffers the burden of providing for a large population of nearly 78 million inhabitants, alongside with problems of dealing with poor management, outmoded ICT tools and poor infrastructure. Collectively, this contributed to the presence of poor business conditions; outdated work processes with crowded workplace environments and low connectivity between government entities. As a result, there are inefficiencies in public service provision, as well as in the control and evaluation of performance, and assessment indicators.

Currently, new business applications in government entities are prominently represented by efforts to improve the management and efficiency of public services utilizing ICT tools and resources. Undertaking the new methods of business processes management and re-engineering, Ministry of State for Administrative Development (MSAD) was able to address the challenges that government agencies faced formerly by assisting them in managing people, processes and resources effectively to satisfy global, legislative, and citizen mandates.

MSAD through 'Government Services Development Program' intends to improve the quality of services presented to the citizens. The program aims at installing single-window-type citizen-service centers at the governorate offices. Using a workflow based information system to track the citizens' requests within the different departments. The project establishes Citizen Service Centers within the governorates, the work done involves architectural remodeling, furniture, business-processes enhancement, IT infrastructure and Software development as well as staff training.

Before utilizing the ICT tools and integrating government entities with each other, some challenges and issues pertain to local government and were needed to resolve as presented hereafter:
• Poor service delivery to citizens
• Low public confidence in government services
• Unhealthy work environments (limited space and resources)
• Poor employee productivity, technical and communication skills
• Limited or no control over staff members
• Limited or no control on work processes leading to less efficiency in work productivity.
• Difficulty in measuring the impact of any development due to inconsistency in performance indicators.
• Lack of business processes' documentation
• Inaccuracy in data processing based on manual records
• Deficiency in connectivity between various government entities
• Lack of unified standards and measures in various government entities
All of the above required serious measures to overcome; ICT offers a big opportunity to governments to achieve higher productivity and continuous optimization in delivering services. This is well matched with the vision of the development programs and e-government around the world as well as in Egypt to eliminate backlogs in public services to restore the public confidence and achieve a better public value.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
MSAD through local governorates' efforts focus on enhancing the living standard of the community, as well as simplifying the government services provision to the public and business. This was translated through the establishment of service centers operated as one-stop-shop type of centers and city councils in governorates, governorates, cities and rural areas.

The final scope of work for the project covers all cities and/or districts of Egypt (around 280 city/district councils). Each of these councils undergoes restructuring, civil works, renovations, furnishings, infrastructure building and back office preparations including LAN's and ICT tools & equipments, Business applications, staff training and capacity building.

There is diversity in the services provided in each site. A sample of the services offered, which highlight some of the economical and time reductions achieved as a result of the transformation process include Construction/restoration/renovation permits, which are considered as the main services offered in governorates. In addition to street work permits which include digging permits and street advertisement permits, as well as retail store permits which cover general permits to practice commercial or industrial activities.

For all of the services offered, there is a better queuing system to better serve the citizens. Anti-corruption policies and regulations are applied by separating between government officials at the backend of the processes and the citizens. Efficiency is achieved through standardization of forms, modern management applications in reducing friction, resolving conflicts and managing relations with customers and investors.

The most significant -ongoing- goal in the transformation process is providing better service to citizens. The overall goals were improving the quality of public services while cutting the administrative costs/time, facilitating the acquisition of governmental services by the citizens and reducing complexities for various stakeholders. The benefits of the project can be outlined on technical, financial, human resources and organizational levels.

On the technical level, ease and accessibility of services to citizens takes place; government efficiency increases, work processes improve, service delivery time is reduced. On the financial level, associated operating costs and time is reduced. On the human resources level, there is better work environment and employee's communication and technical skills. On the organization level, government responsiveness to citizens increases, work performance improves, more support goes to the decision-making process on different managerial levels, workflow standards and processes among similar departments in different governorates and government bodies gets unified, as well as increases Knowledge-Sharing and transfer of information across government entities.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
As early as 1999, the Dokki district council in Egypt started an automated type of service delivery, but it soon collapsed with the departure of its owner.
The current idea emanated in 2002 in the remote city of Safaga, on the Red Sea, and concurrently with a similar idea within the e-Government team within the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT). MCIT then awarded Safaga a grant to implement/expand its model, and at the same time MCIT project monitored the progress.
Almost simultaneously, another district in the City of Alexandria approached MCIT for the modernization of its Information Center early 2003. MCIT team negotiated the transformation of the idea into a citizen service center. The idea was welcomed by the governor of Alexandria at the time and actual work started mid 2003.
With participation of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce in funding the transformation of the building, MCIT with technical resources and expertise and the governorate of Alexandria with the Human Resources and administrative support, the first pilot was completed in Eastern District of Alexandria and was inaugurated in July 2004.
During the following year, the project was transferred to the Ministry of State For Administrative Development (MSAD), and the remaining 6 districts of Alexandria were re-modeled and inaugurated in July 2005.
The model was then approved by the Prime Minister to be deployed all over Egypt, depending on the available resources.
The main stakeholders of this project are the governorate authorities. Without the commitment of the governors, mayors, governorate staff and their information centers, the system cannot succeed. This is basically why the governorates are required to commit and bear its own share in the expenses, namely the civil works and furniture, as a proof of their commitment.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The Ministry of State for Administrative Development (MSAD) through 'Government Services Development Program' intends to improve the quality of services presented to the citizens. The program aims at installing single-window-type citizen-service-centers at the governorate offices. It also aims at using a workflow based information system to track the citizens' requests within the different departments.
The project establishes Citizen Service Centers within the governorates, the work done involves architectural remodeling, furniture, business-processes enhancement, IT infrastructure and Software development as well as staff training.
From a business perspective, the scope covers all processes for the building permits related department, street works and advertisement, low-cost-housing, commercial shop (retail stores) permits, and other citizen-related governorate services.
The project deals with the reduction of public service corruption and delay. It provides the management with a clearer vision and control over the different departments operation and performance. The project aims as well at enhancing the business environment for the citizens served as well as the governorate staff.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The project was implemented by using a modular model and documented in such a way that similar entities could adopt, with little/no need to refer to the Ministry of State for Administrative Development. The software applications development were outsourced to private sector companies that can be independently contracted by the beneficiary.
The first pilot project was implemented in the city of Safaga in the Red sea and was inaugurated in May 2003. This was followed by a larger Pilot Project in Alexandria that was launched in July 2005 where it was announced to be the first electronic City "e-Alexandria". Currently over 35 cities in 19 different governorates were implemented as in Cairo and Suez and 30 more are under implementation. The original plan was more ambitious than the current rate, but budgetary limitation restricted the yearly throughput of the project. The following table reflects MSAD updated project plan to cover cities and districts in Egypt:


Cities and Districts


Total Citizens Using the services (in million)

In fact several entities have undergone this process and adopted the solution model presented. A USAID funded project also approached MSAD to use the same model and application software in 12 different locations not covered within MSAD immediate plan.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Even though the project might be perceived as an IT project, the most important success factor remains to be the human resources. The staff on one hand and the top management on the other are the key success factors for any system to be implemented.

Internal resistance from employees represents a noticeable challenge, particularly when it conflicts with the financial interest of some of them. The transfer of one trained personnel or leader may have negative impact on the system. Actually some of the top managers ended their carriers and had to be replaced by new ones, unaware of the applied system.

Sustainability is still a crucial issue. IT is not accounted for within the budget of such administrative units, and consequently equipment becomes obsolete over time and the administration faces difficulties upgrading them.
Occasional and periodical re-orientation sessions are held for the top-managers, on individual basis. A monitoring agent performs frequent visits to the sites and identifies the deviation from agreed upon operation. S/he reports to the governorate unit managers and management, as well as the project management at (MSAD).

Legal problems are also present due to the fact that the localities are bound to providing the services at legally specified fees, and the revenue goes directly to the central government, leaving no resources for the local authorities to perform services enhancement using IT or otherwise.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources� costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized.
The project was approved as a national project with a separate budget and is currently being implemented in cities/districts all over Egypt, and is planned to be cover all of Egypt by 2010. New technical solution is being considered to add new features, functionalities as well as ease of roll-out, through an ASP model.
The project is mutually funded by MSAD (central government fund) and the Governorates (special funds/civil society contribution). MSAD (central) contributes with all the IT components (Hardware, LAN, Software, Applications, and training). The governorates participate with the civil works, furniture, electrical and A/C installations.
In the particular case of Alexandria, the chamber of Commerce of Alexandria participated with all the expenses necessary for the civil work, as a contribution to the remodeling of their city/governorate.

The table hereunder shows the total operation size in all the 7 sites of the first pilot-city of Alexandria and the consolidated cost:

Civil Works
Including Electrical Network 7 Sites
Renovation, remodeling, extending, …

Furniture Desks, Seats, Meeting tables, …
ICT Equipment ~420 PCs, Printers,…
Queuing System
LAN’s ~600 outlets
~20kms CAT 5 FTP cables
Business Applications 67 Workflows
>500 Application Screens
Training 354 Trainees, 28500 Hours
Applications Training

Recent implementation became less expensive in view of the amortization of the cost of the software. Also, lower cost civil works were possible depending on the available resources in the city coronal in question.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The local administration is supposed to cover all running expenses, and within 4 years, MSAD will proceed with the upgrade of the necessary hardware, licenses and applications.
Up to the moment, the model has proven to be adaptable and applicable to different cities fetishist, in Egypt. Other type of cities, namely newly established cities might have different laws and different administrative systems. New applications are then required, but the overall setup remains the same.
Currently new additions to the original system were introduced as enhancements to the solution; namely portals with interactive services.
Different entities, other than governorates started to adopt the same model, e.g. the Health Insurance Department in Cairo, the Traffic Department in Suez and others. This is considered to be an indicator to the success of the model and its applicability indifferent environments. So the project team believes the model is transferable.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
There is diversity in the services provided in each site; following are some of the positive impacts achieved through modernization and automation:

A- Building Permits:
For this type of permits the average total monthly applications in different locations in Alexandria is around 130 while the average time is currently 50 days vs. 337 days before automation.
B- Street Works Permits:
The average number of monthly applications is 2645; each was completed in 22 days vs. 188 days before the automation solution.

C- Retail Store Permits:
The average monthly applications were 520; each was completed in 80 days vs. 370 days.

D- Steam Boilers, Thermal Furnaces or Elevators Permits:
The average number of applications for these permits was 23; each was completed in 43 days vs. 179 days.

The main lesson to be learned from this experience is that the human resources are the major success/ failure factors to betaken care of. Such is applicable at work levels, starting from the strategic derision maker down to the simple clerk. The only guarantee that the system well remain in progress and operational lies in the interest of the decision maker as well as in the knowledge and enthusiasm of the staff.
Another factor is the integration of the Information system within the operations of each entity.

Contact Information

Institution Name :   Ministry Of State For Administrative Development
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ashraf Abdelwahab
Title:   Deputy Minister - MSAD  
Telephone/ Fax:   (00202) 24000100
Institution's / Project's Website:   (00202) 24000261
E-mail:   awahab@ad.gov.eg  
Address:   13 Salah Salem St.
Postal Code:   11789
City:   Cairo
Country:   Egypt

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