On 26 January 2020, together with our team leader Sebastian Ziaja, we took off on our research trip to Botswana to investigate e-government and democracy in Botswana. Faster than expected, the Corona developments caught up with us and brought us back to Germany from one day to the next only seven weeks later. However, even though our research stay was shortened by a few weeks, we were able to implement our plans and had a very exciting time in Gaborone.
Arriving in the capital of Botswana, we were welcomed by bright sunshine. On the same day, we had our first meeting with our project partner Professor David Sebudubudu, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Botswana. In the following two weeks, further meetings with partners and relevant actors followed, such as Statistics Botswana, Afrobarometer and the Water Utilities Corporation. The goal for our research stay was to conduct an experiment on digital tax returns and a survey on e-government in Gaborone. After the questionnaire had been prepared and we had trained 27 research assistants, our survey was ready to start. In three intensive weeks, we were able to conduct more than 2,123 interviews. Before the survey, we had conducted an information campaign in cooperation with Botswana Unified Revenue Service in order to inform taxpayers in Gaborone about the option of e-filing (filing tax returns over the internet).
In the following week, events took a turn for the worse due to the worldwide corona pandemic. Our planned presentation of our preliminary research results at the University of Stellenbosch had to be cancelled. Likewise, the planned presentation of our final research results at University Botswana, as well as further background interviews should not take place. During the course of March, the decision was made to return to Germany early.
After an intensive time spent together, we are now working on our research report from our homes with regular video conferences. We are very very excited about the results of our analysis and would be happy if you continue to follow us on our Twitter channel: @EgovBotsTeam.
Best greetings and all the best for the time to come.