UAE tops e-government chart

A recent United Nations report has ranked the UAE as the top performer in e-government readiness in the Middle East and Africa region.

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By  Patrick Phelvin Published  February 4, 2004

A recent United Nations report has ranked the UAE as the top performer in e-government readiness in the Middle East and Africa region, followed by Bahrain, Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar. The survey entitled “World Public Sector Report 2003: e-Government at the Crossroads” ranked countries in terms of e-government readiness as reflected in “the generic capacity or aptitude of the public sector to use Information and Communication Technology for encapsulating public services and deploying to the public high-quality information and effective communication tools that support human development.” The rankings were based on the three key indicators: governments’ aptitude to employ e-government as a tool to inform, interact, transact and network; telecom infrastructure and human capital index which took into consideration literacy rate and the overall school enrolment ratio. “Nations across the globe are giving top priority to making themselves e-government ready. E-government is fast becoming the key driver of a country’s economy. However, certain countries have shown greater determination to transform themselves into knowledge economies within a stipulated timeframe. UAE is certainly one of them and the achievements have now been acknowledged by the UN report and several other studies,” says Salem Al Shair, Director eServices, Dubai eGovernment. The vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish Dubai as a leading economic hub is helping in bringing about the transformation of Dubai into a digital society. “The Dubai eGovernment has set the goal of migrating over 70% of its public services to electronic channels by the year 2005, and we are on track to achieve that target,” says Al Shair. “Over the past three years, Dubai eGovernment has put in place a world-class infrastructure and integrated the offerings of all government departments into one platform. Our next step is to increase the use of electronic services by providing literacy and competency programmes to the community,” he adds. The findings of the UN report, published by Madar Research Group in its latest research journal, give credit to some Arab countries for having “put tremendous efforts into developing their e-government programmes in recent years.” Among the Arab countries, the report ranks UAE at the top, followed by Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar. According to the report, the United States has emerged as the world leader in e-government readiness, followed by Sweden, Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Canada and Norway. South central Asia and Africa had the lowest e-government readiness in the world. “The developed countries in North America and Europe had a headstart of several years in e-governance, and they have now reached a high state of e-readiness,” said Al Shair. “In the case of Arab countries, concrete strategies for e-government are of recent origin. It is therefore commendable that, despite this disadvantage, some of them have been ranked above the world average score. As for Dubai eGovernment, we are proud that we have achieved the status of a regional leader in e-governance. This will only motivate us to accelerate our efforts to raise our status further at the global level.”

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