UN E-Government Survey in Media
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Dubai: The UAE was ranked 32nd in e-government readiness index among the 192 member states in the fourth-edition of the eGovernment survey conducted by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
The country, which came 42nd in 2005, has outperformed other Gulf countries. The report ranks Bahrain 42nd, followed by Qatar at 53, Kuwait at 57, Saudi Arabia at 70 and Oman at 84.
The survey also ranked the UAE fifth in terms of transaction services, just behind developed countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the US, while the country achieved the 12th position in the web measurement index, which rated the online presence of national websites and selected ministries, including health, education, welfare, labour and finance.
The UAE also has the highest web measure index in the region, which reaffirms the country's commitment to setting the highest standards of eGovernance excellence.
Salem Al Shair, eServices Director, Dubai eGovernment, which pioneered the implementation of eServices and led the regional eGovernance drive, said: "These major achievements are a result of the hard work and dedication of all the eGovernment entities in the UAE, and I commend the efforts of the IT team in all ministries, especially the Ministry of Labour, for contributing towards the robustness of UAE's eGovernance framework. While the UAE can be proud of its achievement, we should not turn complacent, as there is still a lot to be achieved in this domain."
The survey also referred to the UAE Ministry of Labour's website in particular as an excellent example of a 'one-stop shop,' where visitors can avail themselves of transactional features such as payment by credit card, online submission of forms and permits, the creation of personal accounts. It also referred the Ministry of Social Welfare of Kuwait as another example of a progressive website.
Dubai eGovernment announced that the various initiatives it implemented in 2007 had contributed to the exponential growth of online services offered to citizens, residents and visitors of Dubai.
It revealed that over 1,700 online services have been launched in various government departments, or a phenomenal 81 per cent digital adoption rate of the more than 2,300 government services in Dubai.
Dubai eGovernment's exceptional performance has been in line with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, to speed up the digital transformation of government services in the emirate.
Last year, Dubai eGovernment reported a substantial increase in the usage of its various online facilities. In the first nine months of 2007, over 140,000 calls have been facilitated by Ask Dubai, a unified, multilingual 24-hour contact centre that handles public enquiry and feedback, with the Department of Economic Development (DED) registering the highest number of enquiries at 55,389.
Dubai eGovernment's ePay programme, a secure and reliable platform for online payments, has collected a total amount of Dh245 million, or 4.7 times more than the Dh53 million collected in 2006.
The government mobile SMS service, mDubai, also witnessed over seven million SMS messages exchanged between government departments and customers, with a majority of the text correspondence relating to flight services and tracking, and traffic fines.
"The UAE's strong performance in global e-readiness reflects how the country is effectively using the internet as an instrument for economic growth and human development, mainly through improvements in telecommunications infrastructure, human resources, and legal and policy framework. The results will serve us well in preparing further strategies for ICT development by focusing on how to improve the distribution and utilisation of online services," Al Shair said.
In the e-participation index, Bahrain was ranked 36th, followed by Saudi Arabia at 38, UAE at 41, Oman at 60, Qatar at 71 and Kuwait at 116. "I am pleased to see the results of our efforts. In 2007, Dubai eGovernment has institutionalised several key initiatives to bolster our transition into a comprehensive knowledge-based economy," said Al Shair.