he United Nations e-Government Survey is produced every two years by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. It is the only report in the world that assesses the e-government development status of the 193 UN member states and as a tool for decision-makers to identify their areas of strength and challenges in e-government and to guide e-government policies and strategies.
Bahrain ranked 18th globally, followed by the UAE in 32nd place.
Saudi Arabia trailed at 36th place while Qatar ranked 44th and Oman placed 48th.
“GCC governments have made significant investment to build their government portals, which offer swift and transparent services. In addition, the report has recognised the deployment of the Emirates ID Authority’s Biometric Enrolment in the UAE as part of the National ID Registration Programme as one of the world’s best biometric programmes,” said Jameel Ezzo, International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) GCC Foundation, an organisation dedicated to promoting digital skills and cyber safety across the Gulf region.
He said all six GCC countries have established an e-Government committee and organised the GCC e-Government Conference, providing a platform for the leaders to discuss the various aspects of the e-Government programmes in their countries, to share and benefit from each other’s experience and enhance their respective e-Transformation processes.
Their common goal is to enhance “e-Services, increase the productivity and efficiency of government and improve their ranking in the global e-Government surveys”, he said.
“The GCC countries’ performance is driven largely by the proactive initiatives taken by their respective governments to implement online services as an economic tool to support the knowledge economy,” he said.
The report said that all the six GCC countries rank within the top 10 in Western Asia, due to their high GDP, high literacy rates, small populations and a keen desire by their respective governments to invest in and develop their online national portals, and subsequently offer their citizens advanced e-services and information accessible in an effortless way.
In fact, on an emirate level, Ezzo said that Abu Dhabi’s Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) the body responsible for e-Government implementation, recently won first place award in the ‘Best Application of Information Technology and e-Learning’ category at the recently concluded World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Conference in Geneva, Switzerland for its successful implementation of an initiative that aims at empowering the public with basic ICT skills to be able to use the internet and online services.
Dubai, on the other hand, has initiated its transformation from “e-Government to Smart Government”, a concept of delivering government services through innovative and technologically advanced channels.