SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- Hundreds of government officials and experts from some 50 countries gathered in South Korea on Tuesday to take part in a United Nations-backed forum on electronic government, organizers said.
The Global e-Government Forum 2013, co-hosted by the U.N. and South Korea's Ministry of Security and Public Administration, kicked off earlier in the day in Ilsan, just north of Seoul, for a two-day run.
Under the theme of "Smart Government and Smart Society: Openness, Sharing, Communication and Collaboration," the forum, the second of its kind, is expected to be a venue for "comprehensive discussions on e-government's role as well as trends in the new era," the ministry said.
E-government refers to the use by government agencies of information technologies that help improve interaction among citizens, businesses and various branches of the government. Counted among its benefits are less corruption, increased transparency, greater convenience, revenue growth and cost reductions.
"Smart government brings happiness to individuals based on the values of openness, sharing, communication and collaboration. Therefore, e-Government, the most efficient tool and key foundation for achieving 'smart' government, is becoming more important than ever," Administration Minister Yoo Jeong-bok said in his opening remarks.
In addition to the discussions, dozens of the country's leading information technology companies, including LG CNS and POSCO ICT, have set up booths at the exhibition hall to introduce their services related to e-government.
On the sidelines of the forum, South Korea is also scheduled to hold high-level bilateral talks with countries highly interested in its advanced e-government system, and to sign memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Kazakhstan and Ivory Coast.
South Korea, one of the world's most wired countries, is known as a global leader in the realm of e-government for managing state finances, tariffs, public procurement, patent data, and other administrative procedures and public records.
The system, which ranked No. 1 out of that of some 190 countries in the U.N. e-government systems survey of 2011 and 2012, enables citizens to be have more efficient interaction with their administration, according to the ministry.
South Korea has so far signed contracts worth a combined US$900 million through MOUs with more than 27 countries, mostly developing countries in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, to export its knowhow and technology of building e-government systems over the past several years.
"Our goal for the year is clinching e-government system deals worth $400 million ... I believe South Korea's development model will serve as a good example for other countries," Yoo told reporters.
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