Informatics had already made its appearance in CÙte d'Ivoire at the time of the first generation of computers. The first computer, a GAMMA 30, made by the Bull Company, was installed in the Ministry of Economy and Finance at the Office of Statistics as early as 1962. IBM, for its part, had been present since 1950, but its involvement had been mainly with mechanical data processing.

The Government very soon took on board the need to create the conditions needed to attract Ivorians to this sector of activity. Firstly there was the introduction of a bonus for qualified data processors and then, in 1967, the establishment of a Central Bureau of Mechanical Data Processing (Office Central de la MÈcanographie, OCM).

Subsequently there was clear evidence of this will to promote the intensive use of computers at all levels, and to ensure a better command of these tools by Ivorians.

The following phases of government action can be discerned:

Phase I: Before 1980 (Date of the Establishment of the National Commission for Information Processing, Commission Nationale pour le Traitement de l'Information, CNTI)

Almost all state computer applications were centralized, mainly a the Central Bureau of Data Processing (OCM).

Phase II: From the Establishment of the CNTI to the Dissolution of the General Secretariat for Information Technology (SecrÈtariat GÈnÈral a l"Informatique, SGI)

Dissatisfaction on the part of the major users of OCM led eventually to the formulation of a coherent informatics policy for the public and private sectors: development of the first National Informatics Plan, followed by the development of coordination and supervision mechanisms: National Commission for Informatics, (Commission Nationale pour l'Informatique, CNI); General Secretariat for Informatics (SecrÈtariat GÈnÈral [[daggerdbl]] l'Informatique, SGI); and Ministerial Commissions for Informatics, (Commissions MinistÈrielles de l'Informatique, CMI). The implementation of this policy was by no means problem-free. This period also coincided with the break-through of microcomputers in the world at large, including CÙte d'Ivoire.

Phase III: After the Dissolution of the SGI

The Office and Inspectorate of Public Works, (Direction et ContrÙle des Grands Travaux, DCGTx), an existing institution, regains control of national informatics, absorbing the SGI, a process timidly resisted by the OCM. While the SGI saw its role as one of helping and advising, the DCGTx attempted at the same time to direct and manage major government agency projects. This, too, did not happen without some grinding of teeth.


The table in Annex A1 provides an inventory of the instruments of informatics policy which we have been able to uncover from documents gleaned with great difficulty, and from interviews with some of the persons involved.

The categories of instruments to which the table refers are:

(i) Mechanisms for the analysis, selection, formulation and review of informatics policy options;

(ii) Instruments (means) used to implement informatics policy options and to apply them effectively;

(iii) Instruments used as interfaces with other areas of public policy.


This section will present an analysis of the instruments examined in section 2.5.1: Their objectives; the extent to which the objectives were achieved, and the main problems solved by these instruments; and the factors which contributed to their success or failure. CENTRAL BUREAU OF DATA PROCESSING, OCM


(i) To centralize major government applications of information technology (IT);

(ii) To enable the Government to recruit and retain competent computer professionals;

(iii) To contribute to the training of Ivorian computer staff for the public and private sector.

Achievements. Principal problems solved.

- Computerization of Government Departments

OCM achieved the computerization of the main activities of the Ministry of Economy and Finance: Treasury, Taxation, Customs, Personnel Administration, and payroll of civil servants and government officials.

Up to 1979 OCM took part in the computerisation of 15 ministries and 25 government or parastatal institutions, including the Ministries of Public Works, Construction, Posts and Telecommunications, Interior and the Civil Service.

- Training of Ivorian Computer Specialists

OCM initiated the first training programmes in the country for computer professionals: key board operators, programmers, program analysts, design engineers.

It contributed to the training of computer professionals outside the country, in companies (notably SINORG and SIERIA in France) and in French universities (mainly CNAM)

By 1980 Ivory Coast had all in all 1900 computer specialists, 770 in the public sector and 1130 in the private one.

- Career prospects for computer professionals

OCM facilitated the recruitment and improved the career prospects in the public and parastatal sector for Ivorians skilled in computer technology.

- Pooling of resources

There was a pooling of resources and of methods of computerizing administrative structures.

Factors which Contributed to the Successes of OCM

- The legal status granted to the OCM, of a Public Industrial and Commercial Company (Etablissement Public a CaractËre Industriel et Commercial, EPIC). This status enabled OCM to adopt a position detached from the civil service and to offer salaries matching those prevailing in the private sector. The salary package relied on bonuses granted to computer staff and to all persons whom the management of OCM wished to consider as such. Already in 1963, even before the establishment of OCM, there existed an "efficiency bonus" and an "expense allowance". These were followed by a "performance bonus".

Factors which Contributed to the Failures of OCM

- Excessive centralization of Government information technology resources. The cost of the various information systems were met from a central budget (of the OCM) instead of being assigned to the budgets of benefiting institutions.

- Remoteness of users from their information systems; there was no direct access to information.

OCM relied for its existence essentially on Government subsidies and apparently behaved like a supplier free of any need to balance the budget. In 1980 the Government allocated francs cfa 15 billion for information technology expenses in the public and semi-public sector. The budget of OCM (2.7 billion cfa francs in 1980) accounted for 20% of this expenditure.

- Overlapping responsibilities among the three groups involved: OCM, user departments and suppliers of hardware, software and computer services. Suppliers were tied contractually to OCM. From this arose some confusion of responsibility concerning the definition of objectives and the formulation of requirements. Suppliers attempted increasingly to draw up contracts directly with user departments. NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR INFORMATION PROCESSING, CNTI


(i) To study the potential problems of informatics in CÙte d'Ivoire;

(ii) To undertake research and refine statistics on the information technology situation in CÙte d'Ivoire;

(iii) To produce the first National Informatics Plan.

Achievements. Main problems solved

- First statistical results on information technology in CÙte d'Ivoire.

- First National Informatics Plan (1980-1985).

- Creation of awareness of the potential of information technology among decision makers and preparations for the institutional framework (CNI, SGI, and the CMIs).

Factors which Contributed to the Successes of CNTI

- Tension between OCM and user departments. All partners of OCM were ready for a change.

- Full Exploitation of OCM resources. Full use was made of OCM"s human and material resources and of numerous foreign experts, whose services were, of course, paid for at great expense.

- A favourable economic climate. The on-coming crisis was not yet clearly apparent at the national level.

- The very favourable political climate at the Ministry of State, to which CNTI was attached.

Factors which Contributed to the Failures of CNTI

It can be said that CNTI accomplished its mission. CNTI was merely a transitional instrument. Immediately after the adoption of the National Informatics Plan CNTI disappeared, giving way to the very mechanisms it had helped to bring about. FIRST NATIONAL INFORMATICS PLAN (1980-1985)


(i) To create awareness among officials, decision makers and the public at large;

(ii) To educate and train Ivorian nationals.

Education and training were identified as a priority, with research linked to teaching as a corollary. The eventual aim of training was the Ivorization of information systems project directors and design staff. It was intended to:

* Create initial and regular education and training facilities adapted to the needs of the country, and establish a recognized diploma system guaranteeing quality. The Plan envisaged that the number of specialists (other than keyboard operators) would increase from 1200 in 1980 to 3250 in 1985;

* Provide an adequate number of Ivorian computer professionals at the various levels of competence. In 1980, whereas the rate of Ivorization of administrative and clerical staff was 97%, the rate for management staff of the SSCIs (Computer services bureaux and consultancy services, SociÈtes de Services et de Conseil en Informatique) was 26%.

* Train, on the basis of continuing education, designers of information systems and maintenance technicians. The objective was, on the one hand, to enable staff already in post to be retrained, upgrading their qualifications and keeping up with technical developments; on the other, to re-skill some workers to enable them to join the informatics work force;

(iii) To standardize and coordinate, defining the conditions which would guarantee better computerization.

It was intended to define and bring about the prerequisites for efficient computerization: standards and methodologies, systematic resort to master plans for the various organisms, coordination in the selection of hardware and software etc.;

(iv) To accelerate administrative reform and increase effectiveness of administration. To develop telecommunications so as to achieve administrative decentralization.

It was intended to use the computerization of the great government and para-statal departments as a lever to bring about administrative reform. Each computerization process was to provide the opportunity of redefining procedures so as to improve management and the services provided to users. Telecommunications and networks were to be developed, to promote the decentralization of administrative services and balance between regions;

(v) To establish a computer industry.

It was intended to promote the development of markets for the computer industry and to consolidate a strategy of independence;

(vi) To promote international cooperation.

Achievements. Main problems solved

- Creating awareness among officials, decision makers and the public at large.

The media (radio, newspapers, television) were used, exhibitions organized (SABIC, African Informatics Days - JournÈes africaines d'Informatique, JAI) and conferences held. Research undertaken during the preparation of the 1986-90 Plan produced the following results:

General Public

* 84% of the population has no contact with informatics;

* 56% of Ivorians had a positive view of the impact of informatics on the country's development;

* 56% of the population has no views on the informatics phenomenon;

* 65% thought that informatics, though essential, led to unemployment;

* 54% had never heard of informatics;

* 75% were unaware of the institutional framework;


* only 25% of enterprises or organisations had an informatics plan or a master plan;

* 55% of companies were capable of being computerised.

- Training of Ivorian nationals

Up to 1985 the following national mechanisms were in operation:

* OCM: training of programmers, keyboard operators and data capture operators.

* Higher Institute for Informatics (Institut SupÈrieur d'Informatique, ISI-INSET): training of program analysts, 24 a year.

* Ivorian Management Institute (Institut Ivoirien de Gestion, INIG), attached to the French Management Institute, a private French institution: conversion to informatics of students with a Master's degree in economics or sciences: 24 design engineers a year.

* In the private sector, the development of microcomputers brought about, since 1980, the almost anarchic growth of a number of training institutions for programmers and program analysts.

In 1980 CÙte d'Ivoire had all in all 1900 computer professionals. By 1 January 1985 that number has risen to 2942.

- Standardization and coordination, defining the conditions which would guarantee better computerization.

* A National Council for Standardization, Conseil National de Normalization, was established, replacing the Ivorian Standardization Office, which had been in operation since 1981;

* The following activities were initiated but not brought to fruition:

A terminology for informatics products;

A methodology for formulating master plans. The RACINES method was adopted;

Models for files and specifications for information technology tenders;

Procedures for computer technology bids for government contracts.

- Acceleration of administrative reform and increasing management effectiveness. Development of telematics so as to achieve administrative decentralization.

* Establishment of SYTRANPAC, connecting SYTAN, the national network for packet data transmission with the French TRANSPAC network.

[NB. No comment is made on objectives (v) and (vi]

Factors which Contributed to Successes in the Implementation of the First National Plan

These are the same as for CNTI.

Factors which Contributed to Failures in the Implementation of the First National Plan

- The clumsy and bureaucratic character of the newly established institutional framework (CNI,SGI,CMI). These institutions were attached to a non-technical Ministry and did not have at their disposal the necessary skills to accomplish their mission;

- Rivalry between OCM and SGI, preventing the smooth functioning of these institutions;

- Opposition to by the technical Ministries, some of which were notorious for their immobility in relation to SGI;

- Inadequate training of the software engineers produced by INIG. The Government had signed an agreement with IFG for the training of computer engineers. On the one hand this institution had not been approved by the French Government for purposes of issuing diplomas in computer engineering. On the other, INIG tended to recruit students who lacked the background needed to enable them to become computer engineers after one year's theoretical training. "For political reasons, these specialists,trained on the cheap, found themselves in top government positions." Extract from the "Critical Evaluation" of the Ivorian Government Informatics Policy. SECOND NATIONAL INFORMATICS PLAN (1986-1990)


(i) To pursue and accelerate the coordinated use of information technology in CÙte d'Ivoire;

(ii) To promote education and training;

(iii) To develop computerisation in the government and parastatal sectors. To speed up decentralization and improve services to users;

(iv) To extend the use of computers to all sectors of the national economy;

(v) To develop a national computer industry and services, notably by the establishment of a microcomputer assembly plant;

(vi) To promote informatics research, so as to form a pool of expertise;

(vii) To promote the collection, storage and dissemination of local and international data so as to develop large data bases and banks;

(viii)To strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Achievements. Main problems solved

There is no statistical information about the implementation of this Plan. It is thus possible to undertake a critical analysis only of what has been started.

- Training and computer literacy

A considerable number of institutions were established or have modified existing programmes.(See Annex). However, all planned institutions did not see the light of day. With regard to computer literacy, although some progress was made by comparison with 1980, 60% managers of computer programmes were still expatriates in 1985.(See Annex).

- Decentralization

The Table "Government Expenditure by Ministry" [Annex 2, p.7] shows that some government decentralization of computer applications in the public sector did take place. However, 46.22% of government expenditure on information technology was allocated to the OCM and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

- National computer industry

The planned microcomputer assembly plant did not materialize. The project envisaged a mixed venture: 60% of the investment was to be drawn from government and private Ivorian sources and 40% from a private construction company. The capital was to amount to cfa francs 350 million. It was to assemble annually 3000 microcomputers, 1000 of which were to be absorbed by the Government, and it was to create about 50 jobs.

- Research

Plans have remained at the stage of pious hopes.

- Data bases and banks

The existing data banks, as listed below, pre-date the Second National Plan.

* Socio-Economic Data Bank (Banque de DonnÈes Socio-Economiques, BDSE), 1982, developed by OCM;

* Data Bank on International Transactions and Exchange (Banque de DonnÈes Economiques sur les Transactions Internationales et les Echanges, BETIE), 1982. Contains customs statistics. Its server is OCM, which developed it.

* Administrative Data Bank (Banque de DonnÈes Administratives, BDA), operated in the context of administrative reform, this data bank is restricted to the constitutional documents of the relevant institutions.

* Automatic Customs Clearance System (SystËme de DÈdouanement Automatique des Marchandises, SYDAM). The aim of this system was to improve administrative procedures concerned with customs. However, the initial choice of hardware - Bull mini-6 - led to many failures and consequently a low take up.

Factors which Contributed to Successes in the Implementation of the Second National Plan

Generous funding of the institutional framework, despite the economic crisis. SGI had no compunction about having recourse to expensive private expertise, from within and outside the country.This was the case, for example, with the INIG training programme for software engineers.

Factors which Contributed to Failures in the Implementation of the Second National Plan

These are identical to the factors accounting for the failures of the First National Plan. THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK:

National Commission for Informatics, (Commission Nationale pour l'Informatique, CNI); General Informatics Secretariat (SecrÈtariat GÈnÈral [[daggerdbl]] l'Informatique, SGI); and Ministerial Commissions for Informatics, (Commissions MinistÈrielles de l'Informatique, CMI)

Objectives of CNI

(i) To study and propose to the Government the main lines of a national informatics policy;

(ii) To give reasoned advice on the National Informatics Plan and preparatory documents;

(iii) To give reasoned advice on all papers, surveys or audit reports concerning information technology achievements;

(iv) To instigate or recommend for implementation all information technology projects, surveys and programmes.

Objectives of SGI

(i) To coordinate, supervise and monitor programmes and information technology achievements;

(ii) To coordinate the implementation of the Informatics Plan and make a progress report once a year, in keeping with budgetary procedures; to prepare the next plan upon the expiry of the current one;

(iii) To act as the Secretariat of CNI.

Objectives of the CMIs

(i) To propose to the Minister a computerization master plan, following the guidelines laid down in the National Informatics Plan;

(ii) To coordinate the master plan, making a progress report on its implementation, taking into account budgetary procedures;

(iii) To prepare the next plan before upon expiry of the previous one.

Achievements. Main problems solved.

On the whole, the problems solved are the same as those of the informatics plans, since the CNI, SGI and the CMIs were the mechanisms responsible for formulating or supervising the plans.

- Some 30 computerization master plans were drawn up in ministries and public services. Ten plans were completed by SGI engineers but not all were put into operation;

- Only one master plan was implemented: a Security Project to introduce fake-proof identity cards;.

- Methodological tools such as RACINES, MERISE and the WARNIER LCS and LCP methods were fairly widely distributed.

A Factor which Contributed to Failures in the Implementation of the Institutional Framework

- Inflexibility and bureaucracy

There was no connection between the budgetary procedures and the procedures for developing the informatics plan at departmental level. It was as though the centralization of informatics had remained as it had been under the OCM. INSPECTORATE OF PUBLIC WORKS, (DIRECTION ET CONTR`LE DES GRANDS TRAVAUX,)


(1) To examine feasibility studies for, and implementation of master plans and major government computerization projects. To secure and promote methodological instruments within the government;

(ii) To help in the regulation of information technology contracts;

(iii) To support the practical and continuing training of information professionals for government institutions;

(iv) To create and maintain a permanent monitoring unit to oversee government and private information technology resources.

(v) To develop and maintain a systems chart of national informatics

Achievements. Main problems solved

- Examination of master plans and promotion of methodological instruments

Help was given to ministerial departments which experienced difficulties with their information systems either because of their obsolescence or because of 'sabotage". These were:

* Tax Office (Direction GÈnÈrale des ImpÙts, DGI): master plan;

* Ministry of Health and Social Security: census of officers;

development of a personnel data base and of a model for a social security and health card;

* Ministry of Education: personnel census, development of a personnel data base; computerisation of student cards;

* Ministry of Finance: audit of the civil servants' payroll:

* Ministry of Employment and of the Civil Service: Development of various preliminary studies and calls for tenders on behalf of many other government agencies.

- Regulation of information technology cibtracts.

* In collaboration with the Department of Public Contracts, development of models of government contracts (specifications) for computer services. These models have not yet been accepted by all parties concerned, notably not by GIMI, the main professional body representing the interests of private computer companies;

* Technical and financial advice of DCGTx requested for nearly all computer contracts, whether by mutual agreement or by tender.

Factors which Contributed to Successes in the Implementation of the DCGTx

- Concentration of technical and financial resources within DCGT.

- Enjoying the confidence of the highest political authorities (President, Prime Minister) and therefore great freedom of action for the management of DCGTx, for example in calling on foreign, especially French experts, without going to tender.

Factors which Contributed to Failures in the Implementation of the DCGTx

- The factors which contributed to the DCGTx's failures were the very ones which contributed to its successes. When the brief for tenders had been drawn up and tenders were called for, most of the agencies involved became very reticent about entrusting the DCGTx with full control and management of the process of computerization, for the following reasons:

* The agencies were not willing to relinquish with good grace their powers to control the implementation, and often even the financial regulation of their own contracts.

* Private computer services companies, grouped within the GIMI, also vigorously opposed the almost discretionary powers which the DCGTx intended to exert over all the Government informatics contracts.

* Whereas the SGI was satisfied simply to offer help, advice, and supervision of contract procedures, the DCGTx wished to direct research, control contract procedures and carry out or control the implementation and financial regulation of contracts.

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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