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TRA to launch UAEpedia, promote eGov at GITEX

Telecoms regulator will stress usability of streamlined services

TRA to launch UAEpedia, promote eGov at GITEX
We aim to achieve widespread awareness about the UAE federal government’s eServices by bringing to the fore their usability: Al Ghanim.

The UAE Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced its plans for GITEX Technology Week 2012, including awareness promotion for its ongoing eGovernment services project portfolio and the launching of UAEpedia, an online media library that will showcase the history and culture of the United Arab Emirates.

"This project will play a key role in establishing the national identity or reinforcing the national identity as it will encourage collaboration among the UAE nationals and is in line with the UAE Vision 2021's pillar - ‘United in knowledge'. This information will also benefit researchers, media personnel, scholars and other interested people," Mohamed Al Ghanim, director general, said of the UAEpedia venture.

In an interview with ITP.net, Al Ghanim described UAEpedia as a "content-collaboration project that will bring together information on the UAE, its history, people, culture and literature", in a single online repository. But TRA will also be focusing on the widespread eTransformation initiative that is to streamline UAE public services.

"We aim to achieve widespread awareness about the UAE federal government's eServices by bringing to the fore their usability, which in turn translates into saving time and money. We also hope to achieve awareness about the various eParticipation channels (including forum, blog, chat, survey, poll, Facebook. Twitter, YouTube) adopted by the UAE federal government to connect with the public to share their views and feedback about government policies," said Al Ghanim.

"We will also launch a TV initiative in which we will promote the eService take-up across the UAE as part of the larger initiative to drive adoption and awareness of eServices in the UAE in general."

TRA's mandate covers a broad spectrum of telecoms- and IT-related areas within the UAE and beyond, including ensuring telcos and service providers meet public demand; enhancement of service levels; quality standards and license compliance; promotion and development of ICT business sectors; technology adoption and infrastructure improvement; and competition monitoring.

The authority also regulates the National Numbering Plan and number portability as well as overseeing all Internet activity including IP assignment and the management of the national domain (.aeDA).

Radio also falls under the TRA's brief. Frequency management, license issuing and formulation of regulations and policy are all carried out by the authority.

Current TRA initiatives are based around eTransformation within the federal government and the eServices expected to come on line within the next two years, as directed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

"In February 2012, the UAE Cabinet endorsed the Federal eGovernment Strategy 2012-2014 to enhance government eServices, set up an advanced electronic infrastructure and provide appropriate legal basis for provision of advanced eServices," said Al Ghanim

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum directed federal ministries, authorities and entities to provide comprehensive eServices by the year 2014. We are working towards building such a robust and sustainable eGovernment."

TRA also conducted a sweeping evaluation of federal Internet sites as part of the Government Website Evaluation Index (GWEI) initiative.

"We held a workshop to review the websites of ministries and federal government entities with an aim to enhance the online presence of the entities. Such reviewing is essential for the websites to be in line with the established standards and best practices," said Al Ghanim.

"We also presented the enhanced Web Guidelines 2012. Web guidelines are a set of recommendations that comply with international standards in this regard. The Web Guidelines developed by the Information and eGovernment Sector at TRA are based on best practices with suggestions from international bodies such as the United Nations and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), while taking into consideration local specifications and the requirements of the development towards eGovernment in the UAE."

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