UAE government delegation visiting Estonia
Delegation will discuss experience and collaboration on smart government transformation
The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is visiting Estonia, to share experience and knowledge around the smart transformation of government.
A delegation led by HE Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, director general of the TRA and including a number of other UAE government representatives is on an official visit to the country to discuss e-government, digital identity schemes and other areas of possible collaboration.
From 1991, when Estonia gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country has focused on growing from one of the least technologically-developed in Europe to become a leader in e-government. Under the e-Estonia initiative, the country has implemented a number of smart government programs including i-Voting, e-Tax Board, e-Business, e-Banking, e-Ticket, e-School, University via internet, the e-Governance Academy, and has launched a number of mobile applications.
Every school in the country has had internet access since 1998, and internet access was declared to be a human right in 2000. Estonia has also developed a ‘country without borders' concept, which allows non-residents to be issued with a smart ID card to access Estonia's online government services.
HE Al Mansoori said: "Within the framework of the UAE's National Agenda, especially those elements related to the online services index, we are working to strengthen our efforts and move closer to our vision for the country. This requires sustaining the momentum until we reach our desired goals.
"The UAE has made it into the top tiers in the global list of the 2016 UNDESA E-Government Development Index. Having achieved eighth place in the international online services index, we look into Estonia's experience as one of the best digital examples among European countries which promotes e-government and enables their country to save costs and uphold a high standard of living for its citizens," he explained.
HE Hessa Essa Buhumaid, assistant director general For Government Services, Prime Minister's Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, added: "This visit to Estonia by a government delegation from the UAE follows the directive of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to accelerate the timely implementation of comprehensive smart government services. We are directed to review the leading and most innovative global practices and models on smart government and benefit from those experiences in terms of providing high quality services following the UAE Government's strategy to provide a set of services compatible with the next generation of governments.
"Estonia is one of the countries which has pioneered the use of smart services and is renowned for successfully advancing and implementing smart services models that are easy to access and use by customers. This visit is a great opportunity for knowledge, experiences and information exchange within the smart government field and review the best applications available for smart governments and cities, in addition to other advanced ICT technologies. It also promotes opportunities for collaboration in the adoption of technological innovations to achieve the happiness of society and build a sustainable and smart future for the coming generations."
Dr. Khalid Al Awadi, Director of Information Security at the Emirates ID Authority (EIDA) and part of the delegation, noted that the UAE has come a long way in the field of infrastructure development in its shift towards a smart government and the provision of a safe environment through e-services. He pointed out the important role of the population register system and ID card managed by EIDA in achieving this vision.
Dr. Al Awadi explained the significance of reviewing and taking advantage of the outstanding international experiences in upgrading the electronic and smart services of various government agencies to keep up with the latest updates in modern technology, which positively reflects the UAE's competitive edge in the sector.