Gulf embarks on a wireless government gateway

The UK has done it. So has Singapore, Romania, Turkey, and even closer to home, Egypt, and now the time has come for the Arabian Gulf.

  • E-Mail
By  Administrator Published  September 6, 2007

The UK has done it. So has Singapore, Romania, Turkey, and even closer to home, Egypt, and now the time has come for the Arabian Gulf.

The GCC is racing forward in the development and implementation of e-government gateways, says Sherif Dahan, the gulf territory manager of internet service and solution provider LINKdotNET and its software development subsidiary LINK Development. Five years from now, he predicts that the gateways will become an integral part of the everyday life in most, if not all, countries in the Gulf region.

900,000 working hours per year wasted in various ministry visits would be saved through this project.

"The initial ‘trial period' or familiarisation of e-government in the GCC is pretty much over," says Dahan. "Governments are now getting to grips with the ultimate stage in e-government - the gateway. They have been influenced and encouraged by the success of e-government gateways being implemented around the world."

A government gateway, or ‘joined-up government', is the term given to the online provision of all or most of a country's government services through a single portal. Citizens and businesses are able to conduct transactions under various government department or ministries, using a single username and password. Gateways involve the seamless integration of services based on different ministries' back-end systems, regardless of the technologies used. They take a citizen-centric approach, with services category based on a logical grouping that makes them more user-friendly.

In addition, their ‘No wrong door' policy means that citizens don't need to know the entity serving them or need to remember various URLs, just simply one single access point to all online government services. Even when there are entities with various websites, services are all accessible through a unified government portal as well as the entities' own portals.

According to Dahan, "Governments in the region embraced the e-government ethos early on and have raced against themselves to adopt this 21st century approach to operating in the public sector. The trend has generally been that of independent efforts, driven by the individual initiatives of various departments and ministries. What the Gulf countries are now focusing on is a unified integrated effort to move all their services online."

He says the region is now ready to move into a more advanced stage of e-government. The company's discussions with authorities in the GCC show that they are either at the planning stage or actually about to embark on specific projects to help gateways take off.

Hanan Abdel Meguid, the CEO of LINK Development, says that "countries around the world are recognising the benefits of integrated government gateways. For the GCC, it was always just a question of timing, but now there seems to be a serious desire and intention to develop integrated gateways in the near future."

LINK Development is the first company in the Middle East to have delivered a successful e-government gateway solution in the region, specifically for Egypt. Abdel Meguid says that gateways actually change the relationships between citizens, businesses and governments, through their many advantages. "Gateways are not only designed to reduce red tape, and integrate services and functions in a more efficient and consistent manner, but they also enhance intra- and inter-governmental collaboration. This also improves transparency and offers an alternative to citizens and businesses having to navigate their way through the maze of individual government interfaces. The advantages include the creation of a standard interface for e-government, and ensuring a one-stop and round-the-clock service."

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code