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Burkina Faso’s government is connecting to the cloud

By Lily Kuo

Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries and where less than 5% of the population has access to the internet, may soon be a pioneer in e-government. The government has launched a cloud networking project with France’s Alcatel-Lucent with the aim of offering digital public services in healthcare, education as well as connecting government departments and branches.

The “G Cloud” infrastructure project, financed in part by the Danish government, will be based in Ouagadougou and five provinces in the country. The project will connect 400 buildings in 13 urban centers through a fiber optic system.  ”The G-Cloud network will allow the distribution of applications and resources at all times, wherever necessary, while providing consolidated cloud and network management,” said Nebila Amadou Yaro, a minster of development focused on the digital economy.

The idea of digital government, using information technology to provide public services and information, is becoming more popular among African governments, especially in countries with growing mobile and internet penetration rates. In 2013, Tanzania collected $2.5 million in taxes in three weeks after introducing a tax mobile payment app. Recently it has made birth certificates available to parents via mobile phones.

Burkina Faso has been focused on developing its information technology sector in hopes of creating more jobs. Last year the authorities made 50 government data sets available to the public online and became the second African country, after Rwanda, to begin conducting paperless cabinet meetings. Among low-income countries, Burkina Faso’s government is the only one to offer downloadable forms on its websites, according to a United Nations report on government digital readiness last year.