GCC countries vying for m-gov top slot
Manama, October 15, 2013
The GCC countries are in the race to win the pole position of a new wave of mobile government (m-gov) services for citizens and businesses, with all six ranking in the top 25 of the key e-readiness indices, said a report.
Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain ranked first, third, sixth, 12th and 24th respectively in the government procurement of advanced technology products in the World Economic Forum's 2012-2013 'World Competitiveness Report,' according to the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Also, the UAE ranked 19 amongst 148 economies in the report for its Global Competitiveness Index, of which e-readiness was key, maintaining its position from 2012-2013; Saudi Arabia was 20, Qatar 13, Bahrain 43 and Kuwait 36, said the GDN report.
Having some of the highest Internet and mobile users penetration, coupled with the resolution of the GCC governments for driving e-services strategies, the six GCC countries are fast-moving towards achieving their e-gov vision.
"Governments in the GCC and in other parts of the region have realised early on the vital importance of providing their services to citizens and businesses electronically," said LINK Development managing director Amin Azab.
Government entities in the Gulf offer thousands of services and, to get these services, citizens and businesses conduct hundreds of million government transactions every year, according to industry estimates.
"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution for e-gov and m-gov," remarked Azab.
"Each organisation has a different set of challenges for transforming into e-services and m-services, but none of them wants to be the minority left behind.
"The challenge is that each government entity has reached a different level of sophistication on the e-gov adoption curve.
"These range from the most advanced government departments that offer comprehensive, cutting-edge e-services that only need to be expanded to mobile, to those which offer a portion of their government services electronically, and finally some which have not start providing e-services yet.
"Also, systems integration and legacy issues come into play when a government department embarks on a plan to offer end-to-end e-services and m-services."
Link Development GCC commercial director Tarek El Araby said: "The core of e-gov is the ability of government entities to benefit from ICT in developing their citizens services and to offer these services through a variety of innovative channels that can cater to the individual needs and expectations of the various categories of citizens.
"While a lot has already been achieved to move into a comprehensive e-government platform by fully automating the government to business and government to citizen services, there is still a wide gap to be filled in order to present a seamless citizen interface with both federal and local government departments," Mr El Araby said.
"There is a clear trend across our government clients to think about the needs of citizens and businesses and develop their new e-services strategies from there, rather than looking at the internal processes' requirements," he added.-TradeArabia News Service