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mGovernment to take off by 2010

Mobile access to online government services expected to be common in Middle East by 2010 says Devoteam

The Middle East will see extensive uptake of mobile online government services - mGovernment - by 2010, according to consulting and solutions provider Devoteam.

Speaking at the Middle East eGovernment Conference & Exhibition in Riyadh last week, Osama Ghoul, managing partner of Devoteam Middle East, said that mobile phone access to government services is likely to outstrip PC-based online eGovernment due to the high penetration of mobile phones in the region.

"As eGovernment is improving services for citizens, businesses and even other government departments, it's important to look at how these services can and already are evolving towards mobile use as mobile phone penetration vastly outstrips computer penetration in the Middle East. It's rare to see someone without a mobile phone but less common to see someone carrying a laptop," said Ghoul.

Devoteam Middle East, has carried out consultancy work with government in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and is also developing the Government Service Bus (GSB) architecture, which aims to provide a core platform for stable and secure eGovernment services.

"By 2010, the Middle East can expect eGovernment services going mobile and providing citizens of the region with immediate access to a range of services such as trade and industrial support, national healthcare, visa and immigration applications and local government community support," he added.

"However, there are important milestones that must be achieved beforehand to see these services ready by then. The most important is public education, acceptance and identification with eGovernment services and how these can improve peoples' daily lives; whether it's payment for national utilities, renewing access to healthcare services or applying for a new passport. As public demand for these services grows, improving access to meet this demand by widening access through mobile networks is the next logical step," Ghoul said.

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