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UN E-Government Survey in the News  
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GCC e-Government Conference Inaugurated
Source: Bahrain News Agency, by Farishta Saeed, http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/698058
Source Date: Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Internet Governance
Country: Bahrain
Created: Nov 25, 2015

Manama, Nov. 25 (BNA): On behalf of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa , Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT) H.H. Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak AlKhalifa inaugurated the 4th GCC eGovernment Award, Conference and Exhibition 2015.

Hosted by Bahrain, represented by the Informatics & eGovernment Authority, the event included a large number of high dignitaries and diplomatic VIPs.

H.H. Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak AlKhalifa stated that he was pleased to patronise the event on behalf of HRH the Prime Minister. He affirmed that such an event reflects the keenness of the GCC countries on utilizing the latest of innovative trends which are based on the discussions and recommendations concluded during the conference.

He also added that since 2005, the country’s government worked on enhancing the eTransformation and through the Informatics & eGovernment Authority – Bahrain was able to deliver large number of online services to citizens and residents. He further indicated that the country has accomplished honorable achievements within the most recent United Nations eGovernment Survey of 2014 - considering that it excelled by being ranked 1st in the Middle East and the Arab World in addition to 18th globally within the eGovernment Readiness Index.

H.E. Eng. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation & Telecommunications, had also delivered a speech where he thanked HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman AlKhalifa for patronizing the event, supporting and wisely directing the ICT sector in the Kingdom. Furthermore, he congratulated him for recently receiving the ‘ICT in Sustainable Development’ Award by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

He added that today, the international community looks upon Bahrain as one of the advanced countries - standing side-by-side with other nations in the ICT sector. Owing to the government’s support and the SCICT’s follow-up; the Kingdom was capable of surpassing these countries by providing cutting-edge as well as highly-efficient eServices which reflected citizens’ directions towards electronic utilization. Such outcome resulted in the increase of customer satisfaction index concerning offered public services.

He continued to say that the GCC countries have achieved remarkable accomplishments in this sector as they noticeably succeeded doing so during a record time. Moreover, the high ranks of the GCC states enabled them to leave a stamp on the international arena – grabbing the attention of all other countries. As a result of such endeavors and persistent efforts, several initiatives and significant achievements coincided with the visions and aspirations of the GCC leaders and heads.

"I have witnessed positive changes and great improvements in Bahrain as well as the region which had achieved remarkable UN rankings within the recent reports," said European Commission Joint Research Centre Senior Scientist Dr. Gianluca Misuraca. He also touched upon the European Union’s experiences, its new trends as well as the collaboration and GCC advancements within the eGovernment sector. He also highlighted how such collaboration together with the implementation of new trends have improved each of the member states’ competences within this field.

H.H. Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak AlKhalifa honored the winners of the GCC eGovernment Award 2015. Categories included Best eGovernment Website that awarded the winning projects ‘National Centre for Statistics Website’ by the National Center for Statistics & Information from Sultanate of Oman; ‘Ministry of Health Website’ project by Bahrain’s Ministry of Health; along with ‘Safe Space’ by the Ministry of Information & Communications Technology participating from Qatar. The Best eGovernment Integrated Services – Individual/ Business Sector category was seized by the sole winning project ‘Sanad’ submitted by AlRaffd Fund from Oman.

The Best eGovernment Service for Business Sector category was won by three winning projects – ‘Dubai Trade’ by Dubai Trade of Dubai Customs from United Arab Emirates (UAE); ‘Invest Easy’ by the Ministry of Commerce & Trade from Oman; along with the ‘Business Licensing Integrated System’ project by the Ministry of Industry & Commerce from the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The Best eGovernment eService category encompassed the ‘Ministry of Youth and Sports Services’ project by the Ministry of Youth & Sports Affairs, participating from Bahrain; the ‘Commercial License Registration Renewal and Update’ project contributed by the Ministry of Trade & Commerce from Saudi Arabia; together with the ‘Self Service Machines – Kiosks’ project by Public Prosecutor from Qatar. ‘Bayanati’ project by the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, participating from the United Arab Emirates was the first of two winners in the category Best Government-to-Government eService; in addition to the ‘National Payment Aggregator’ project submitted by the Informatics & eGovernment Authority from Bahrain.

The category ‘Best Practice in Community eParticipation’ comprised three winners of ‘Public Authority for Consumer Protection’ by the Public Authority for Consumer Protection from the Sultanate of Oman; ‘eParticipation’ project by the Ministry of Interior from the UAE, as well as the ‘Sahem Fi AlTashree’ project presented by the entity Kuwait National Assembly from Kuwait. The Best Application for Smart Devices category involved four winners – ‘Darb’ by the Department of Transport – Abu Dhabi from UAE; ‘Metrash 2’ by the Ministry of Interior from Qatar; ‘Ministry of Interior’ app by Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior; as well as ‘Safeer Mobile App’ by the Ministry of Education from Saudi Arabia. ‘Monafasat’ by the Ministry of Finance from Saudi Arabia was the first winner in the category Best Whole-of-Government National eProject; the ‘Personal Hub’ by the Royal Oman Police from Oman; ‘Center for Digital Innovation’ project by UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority; accompanied by the ‘Kuwait Information Network’ project from Kuwait’s Central Agency for Information Technology.

The Deputy Prime Ministry has also inaugurated the accompanied exhibition which included the participation of 18 government entities which sought to exhibit their experiences and projects in the eGovernment sector in a variety of specializations, with the attendance of VIPs and visitors.

The first day of the event included conference sessions covered by the ‘Glance at eGovernment Development on the European Union’ by Dr. Misuraca, ‘Business Licensing Integrated System’ by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia’s ‘Justice Portal’, UAE’s ‘Dubai’s Smart Training Initiative’, Oman’s ‘Community Participation of Omani Shura’, Qatar’s ‘Mawared Program’, and Kuwait’s ‘GCC Environmental Portal’. 
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