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The use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is becoming more and more commonplace around the world and the spread of mobile phones, computers and the internet even to the remotest places of the world is evident. In addition to their intrinsic value, the value of using ICT as a means to achieve more significant development related goals, has been widely recognized. In a post-conflict context the use of ICT is a means of enabling effective and sustainable state-building.

Modern conflicts are often rooted in ineffective and exclusive governance. This highlights the importance of post-war state-building; in order to avoid a slip back into a cycle of conflict and violence, it is important to strengthen not only the immediate capacity of the state but also the enduring relationship between the state and its society. If done right and addressed early on, reviving key functions of civil administration can contribute to the establishment of an effective and transparent state that serves its citizens and is able to create a mutually enforcing relationship with its society. This in turn contributes not only to the immediate post-war reconstruction phase but it also provides a basis for long-term development and, most importantly, for sustainable peace.

This report provides insight into the use of ICT in state-building in the context of three African post-conflict countries: Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. In Uganda ICT is being used to improve the population registration system. In Rwanda ICT is being used to enable customers to pay utility bills using mobile scratch cards. This may not be the traditional example of a state-building exercise but it provides a useful and innovative example of the state-building functions that can be done via a semi-autonomous public utility company. In Ethiopia ICT is utilized in the country’s Court Reform.