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Clinton hails Oman’s eGovt ICT initiatives
Source: http://www.timesofoman.com/archivesdetails.asp?detail=52817
Source Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Country: Oman (Sultanate of)
Created: Dec 14, 2011

MUSCAT: Former US President Bill Clinton has hailed the Sultanate for promoting excellent e-Services and for making sterling progress in the ICT sector.

The 42nd President of the US was the keynote speaker at the much anticipated awards ceremony held to present the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment, at the Sultan Qaboos University Cultural Centre here, yesterday.

Praise
Praising the Sultanate’s efforts, Clinton said, “A government that is excelling in information technology services is more productive, more efficient and alternately less costly leaving more money to invest in education, more technology and economic development. It is critical to the success of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s efforts to modernise and diversify the economy.”

He noted: “Information Technology is simply the latest in history’s long list of tools that could be used or abused. Oman has decided to use it.”

He then urged: “Use it (IT) to make government more responsible and in the process to empower the citizens of your growing nation to make more of their own life and to give their children a brighter future.”

The award ceremony was held under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said in the presence of Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, chairman of Information Technology Authority (ITA) and Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA. Winners in nine categories were announced at the ceremony organised by the ITA.

Overwhelmed that Oman is ranked 13th internationally in the field of eGovernment readiness, 19th in the area of government success in ICT promotion, and 10th in the attention government accords to ICT sector, Clinton said, “I am immensely impressed by the astonishing progress made by your government and your country in the provision of these services.”

Thanking the Oman government for supporting his work around the world, the former US President said, “Through your ambassador you have been a wonderful supporter of the global initiatives which bring together people from around the world, among other things, to use information technology to connect people all over the world.”

Referring to the initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation, Clinton explained his team has been using the capacity of information technology wherever they can to bring modern and effective health care to remote areas, to involve people in taking control of their own economic destiny, and spreading the benefits of education.

Citing an example, he said, “In one of our projects in Kenya we are using mobile networks to rapidly share health information. Because of information technology we are able to diagnose people quickly, stay in touch, and save more lives.”

He cited the example of Haiti, which suffered a devastating earthquake two years ago, and where IT is playing a major role in the country’s recovery.

“Haiti offered the first opportunity for the world to offer help through text messaging to donate,” he said.
Clinton added: “We have to work together to preserve the resources of the world so that the people’s strength in one area can be people’s needs in another.

“In an inter-connected world we can more rapidly than ever before share what we are good at, make trade something that benefits broad masses of people and create jobs and opportunity
and give education to people.

“This is how I see the eGovernment efforts in Oman. You are knitting together the people of Oman in their shared opportunity – first access to government, then to improve their education, then to diversify and strengthen their economy, and then to reach the rest of the world,” said Clinton, who is well-known for his initiatives to apply the e-Government programme and use the Internet and digital technology to develop government services.

The winners
While the Ministry of Manpower’s portal won the Best eContent Award, Muscat Municipality won the Best eReadiness award. Oman Education Portal by Ministry of Education won in the Best eProject (individual) category.

The Award for Best eProject (collaborative) was given to the project employment collaboration project by the Ministry of Manpower.

The award for the eEconomy category was granted to ‘One-Stop-Shop’ by Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

The award of the Best eService Government to Government was granted to Integrated Financial System of Ministry of Finance.

The project which won the award of the Best eService (Government to Citizens) was students evaluation report of the Ministry of Education.

The award of the Best eService Government to Employees went to eOffice: Ministry of Housing.

The winner in the category of the Best eService for Mobile Service was iMuscat by Muscat Municipality Portal.

The award of the Best eService Government to Business was withheld, as no submitted project met the award criteria.

A total of 44 e-projects, representing 23 government institutions in the Sultanate, participated in this year’s edition of the award.

The international jury panel, comprising 11 eGovernment experts from around the world chose the winning projects.
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