Emirates eGovernment’s 12 Major Milestones in 2011

Emirates eGovernment’s 12 Major Milestones in 2011

In various levels, 2011 was both important and busy year for the eGovernment in UAE. Emirates eGovernment – the entity managing the program – took more strategic steps towards promoting open government and citizen participation practices by launching the open government data sub-portal and launching a government-wide social media usage guidelines. On the organizational side, the General Information Authority (the entity used to handle the eGovernmetn program) was merged with Telecom Regulatory Authority.

Here is my list for the key 12 milestones for Emirates eGovernment in 2011:

1- January- GIA Launches the standard framework for IT Strategy for federal government entities

General Information Authority (GIA) launched a standard framework for developing IT Strategy to be used by all federal government entities in UAE. The framework was developed in partnership with Gartner and presented officially to the federal government entities in a workshop in Dubai on January 23rd.  I had the opportunity to lead GIA’s team in working with Gartner in developing the framework.

    2- February – GIA Launches the official social media usage guidelines for UAE government 

GIA took a major step towards promoting appropriate adoption of social media among government entities by releasing the Social Media Usage Guidelines for UAE Government . The guidelines aimed at providing government entities with advise on how to “use Social Media (SM) tools in responsible, safe and effective manners to communicate with citizens and engage them in designing/delivering  government programs and services“.
I had the honor to lead a government-wide task force and collaborate with Dubai School of Government in developing this guidelines. You can download the guidelines document here  and you can read my earlier post commenting on the release of this document titled : Three Reasons Why the Social Media Guidelines for UAE Government are Vital.
3- March – GIA Release results of government’s websites compliance assessment

GIA released the results of its first annual assessment of federal government websites in UAE. The assessment was conducted based on the website guidelines developed by GIA in alignment with international and local standards such as World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The assessment criteria covered five areas: domain name & hosting, site architecture & design, usability & accessibility, content and marketing. The results showed a noticeable variance in level of compliance of the assessed websites. 40% percent of the websites were in great compliance with the standards, 22 percent of them were adequately compliant; while 38 percent of the assessed websites were below par.
4- April - General Information Authority (GIA) merged with TRA
A big organizational changed took place in April, 2011. GIA which was established nearly 30 years ago (1982) was abolished by  a federal law issued by UAE President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The law has merged GIA  with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
The importance of this change is that it brings the eGovernment program to the same government body responsible of regulating the telecommunication and ICT infrastructure in the country. This merge should ease and facilitate coordination at the strategy and policy design and implementation on both sides which should lead to a great push to the eGovernment program and endless opportunities for the whole ICT industry in the country.
5- May - UAE Government launches revamped federal portal

Another major milestone for Emirates eGovernment in 2011 was the launch of the revamped national portal (government.ae) . The portal was officially launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai who “has described the importance of the UAE’s e-gate service and its contribution towards developing the country’s competitive position, while enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of government work” (read news article on H.H. website)

The new portal was meant to reflect Emirates eGovernment strategic approach towards fostering openness, promoting bi-directional way of communication and increasing citizen participation. The new portal has dedicated sections for open government data, citizen participation through social media in addition to other sections for accessing all government services and information across UAE.

6- May – UN eGovernment representative visits UAE

In continuation of the join work between Emirates eGovernment and the eGovernment branch at the Division for Public Administration and Development Management / United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (DPADM/UNDESA) that started earlier in 2010, The United Nations’ eGovernment representative and Senior  Inter-Regional Advisor Richard Kerby visited UAE in a one week visit.

During this week, Mr. Kerby (@RichardKerby) conducted meetings with Emirates eGovernment management where both sides reviewed the progress made in implementing the UAE eGovernment strategy and the UN contribution.  Mr.

The joint work between both sides shall continue in different forms during the next year.

7- June- Emirates eGovernment awarded ‘Social Media Initiative of the Year’

In a recognition to its effort in developing the the Social Media Usage Guidelines for UAE Government (see point 2 above), the guidelines were awarded the  “The Social Media Initiative of the Year” award during the Government Digital Media Conference organized in Dubai by Government Digital Media Forum ( @govdmf).
You can read more about this award what it means in my post “The Social Media Award: Celebrating Some Great Values
 8- October - Emirates eGovernment participates at GITEX
In the first GITEX Technology Week  after merging with TRA, Emirates eGovernment brought together several federal government entities to showcase their recent achievements in offering more value to their constituent via electronic channel.
One clear trend among government entities during this week was the focus on offering apps for smart devices. Here are more details on this issue on my earlier post: “A Look at the Smartphone Apps for UAE Government Entities

9- November – UAE wins half of GCC eGovernment awards

In a well-deserved recognition, UAE was awarded half of the six awards at the GCC 2nd eGovernment Award organized in Kuwait.   The national portal of UAE (government.ae) was named the best national portal, the website of Dubai Health Authority won the best eContent award while the best G2C eService went to The Easy Licensing eService from Dubai Road and Transport Authority.

You can check the full winners list in this post, while you can ready here my views on the award as a platform to promote cross-GCC cooperation and my personal vision for its future.

10- December – Emirates eGovernment Director  honored for distinguished contribution to eGovernment

The Director General of Emirates eGovernment H.E. Salem Al Shair Al Suwaidi (@SalemAlShair) is widely considered as the eGovernment guru in the region. More than a decade ago, he was chosen by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to launch Dubai eGovernment – the first eGovernment program in GCC region.

In December, Mr. Al Suwaidi received another recognition for his continuous contribution to the eGovernment in UAE. He was awarded the Certificate of Excellence fromTatweej Academy and The Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO).

Mr. Al Suwaidi recieved the certificate from H. H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum handed him the certificate and the medallion at award ceremony  held at Giorgio Armani ballroom at Burj Khalifa.

H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left) handles the certificate to Mr. Al Suwaidi

11- December – 83% of the people polled trust online payment for UAE government services

The citizens and residents of UAE showed a great support for Emirates eGovernment efforts to offer more online services by expressing a high trust in online payment for the government services.

In a dedicated survey run by Emirates eGovernment,  83 percent of   the surveyed people participated in the survey said “they trust paying government fees online“. Read my post on this survey and its implications.

12- December – UAE citizens and residents call for more open government data

Another signal of support to the Emirates eGovernment initiatives was shown by the visitors of its national portal (government.ae) who urged the government entities to offer more open data on its various websites. Currently, many federal government entities offer open data on their websites in addition to the open data section at the national portal.  The visitors of the portal expressed this “wish” in an online survey run by Emirates eGovernment.

I’ll dedicate my first post in 2012 to shed light on this issue and its meaning to the open data initiative in UAE.

So, 2011 was a year full of achievements wrapped by citizens support and demands for more. These achievements and the merge with TRA offer a  great platform for more work towards satisfying the citizens needs and making more progress in implementing the eGovernment strategy of the country.

Happy New Year!

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4 responses

  1. Great article about the Emirates eGov’s achievements and milestones in 2011. Being part of the EeG’s team and colleague of the writer, I acknowledge his effective contribution in making most of these milestones reality.

  2. Thanks a lot Dr. Basem for your time and kind comment and your continuous support! let’s take these successes to 2012 :)

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