DUBAI, 10th July, 2020 (WAM) — The United Arab Emirates has been ranked first in the GCC, Arab region, and Western Asia, and 8th globally in the Online Service Index, OSI, issued by the United Nations within the E-Government Development Index, EGDI.
The UAE is also ranked 4th in Asia in this indicator, advanced one rank in the E-participation Index as well as progressing from 17th (2018) to the 16th position. According to the same survey, the UAE is ranked 7th in Telecommunication Infrastructure Index in the ICT Infrastructure Index, TII.
In its current edition, the survey focused on the role of countries in serving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially “Leaving no one behind” and the role of digital transformation programs in narrowing the gap between segments of society in various fields. The survey addressed government programs around the world in engaging customers in developing services, policies and programs for everyone’s benefit.
The UAE has been ranked 21st globally in the overall index, which consists the sub-indicators: Online Service Index, OSI; Human Capital Index, HCI; and Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, TII; in addition to the E-participation Index, EPI, that falls within the online services.
With this result, the UAE assured its leading position on the Arab level in digital transformation key indicators, which reflects its global position and leadership in adopting the principles of the future government that are based on embracing advanced technologies, and particularly ICT technologies, and using them to provide customers with easy and interactive government services. The results also confirm the UAE’s global role in implementing the sustainable development goals, as it has been among the first countries to establish a specialised platform for this purpose in cooperation with the United Nations and relevant international bodies.
After the UAE, Bahrain has been ranked second in the GCC in EGDI, followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 3rd, Kuwait 4th, and Oman 5th.
Moreover, the UAE is sharing the 4th rank in OSI in Asia along with China and Japan, following Korea, Singapore and Kazakhstan.
The survey highlighted distinguished UAE experiences in interacting with customers, and emphasised the ‘Rammas’ Application launched by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which is a virtual employee that uses Artificial Intelligence to respond in English and Arabic, where a question can be directed to “Rammas” verbally to get the answer immediately.
Despite the intense competition between countries in the E-participation Index, the UAE has achieved a breakthrough by advancing one rank and reaching the 16th position, which reflects the implementation of digital transformation programs in the UAE in line with the wise leadership directives, by engaging the various segments of society in designing services and policies that enhance society’s happiness.
The E-Participation Index, EPI, is derived as a supplementary index to the United Nations E-Government Survey. It extends the dimension of the Survey by focusing on the government use of online services in providing information to its citizens or “e-information sharing”, interacting with stakeholders or Commenting on these results, Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Head of the UAE Digital Government and TRA Director-General, said, “Despite the intensity of competition between countries, with these results, the UAE maintains its position among the most advanced countries in digital transformation. We realize that the more we advance, the more difficult the competition will be, but under the directives of our wise leadership and with our national competencies and accumulated experiences in this field, we are determined to place the UAE among the best countries in the world, and we will achieve our aim through cooperation and working as one team. These results lay upon us new challenges that we will overcome with hard work to achieve the first global position in smart services.”
Al Mansoori added, “In this context, I thank all government entities that worked with us hand in hand, to implement the concepts of a unified and integrated e-government within the framework of the OSI executive team, and I wish them more innovation during the remainder of the 2022 survey. I am confident that we will live up to our leadership’s expectations.”
In turn, Salem Al Housani, Acting Deputy Director General of the Information and mGovernment Sector, and Head of the OSI Executive Team, said, “I congratulate my colleagues in the OSI executive team for their efforts over the past two years. We worked together as one family, developed plans, constantly revised them, developed our work, learned about global experiences, took customer needs into consideration, and held our meetings regularly to unify understanding and coordinate efforts. We are ready for the next stage, and we will work in the same spirit to achieve more progress in the OSI and related indicators.”
The UN survey commended on the UAE’s success in engaging citizens and residents in designing public services, providing incentives through gamification techniques, and providing customer happiness services around the clock.
The survey also praised the strength of the telecom infrastructure in the country, stressing that the UAE is mobilising the potential of emerging technologies to provide advanced government services and ensure a high level of user satisfaction. The report stated that the UAE developed several strategies related to digital government transformation, including Smart Dubai 2021, the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 which aims to transfer 50 per cent of government transactions to blockchain by 2021, and the Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
These results come soon after achieving many leading positions in the global indicators in terms of the development of digital infrastructure. The UAE achieved a leading position in in Government Electronic and Mobile Services, GEMS, Maturity Index, in broadband subscriptions and mobile phone network coverage. It also ranked first regionally in the transition to IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), as well as first in the Arab world and 4th globally in the launch of 5G.
This achievement is the result of the great efforts of the national OSI team, which comprises representatives of 11 federal and local government entities. Its priorities are to provide a sustainable environment and an integrated infrastructure and to achieve the goals set at the global level. The Team acts in accordance with major global trends in the e-Government Survey, namely: bridging the digital divide, Open Data, promoting use, multichannel services, Connected Government (G2G), and e-participation.
The team has worked during the past two years to enhance the application of the principles and directives of the government excellence system, the most prominent of which is the mobilization of all future opportunities, and contributing to the development of proactive and flexible governmental entities to enhance future readiness through innovation, modernity and leadership of entrepreneurial and creative thinking, as well as contributing to achieving the principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability, while focusing on the concepts and values of e-participation, open data and the provision of high-quality services.
In turn, TRA has made unremitting efforts to accelerate the digital transformation in the country and enhance the e-presence of the mGovernment to enhance the country’s position in the mentioned index. TRA has developed the UAE Government official portal, and launched the new domain “U.ae”, which is the first and only domain in the world that consists of one letter. The TRA content and e-participation team developed and implemented the national strategy for e-participation in order to enhance participation in the development of services and policies, as well as involving people in building future directions of the Federal Government to ensure their happiness and wellbeing, and activating the role of localities in digital participation, being the closest to all aspects of the customers lives, and activating e-participation at the national, regional and global levels.
TRA also worked on the mGovernment Enablers project, which aims to support federal government entities to enhance their websites and smart services. TRA has developed and implemented a comprehensive e-participation plan, including the management of the official e-participation portal, Sharik.ae. TRA works closely with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority to enrich and develop the open data portal.
TRA emphasised that the innovative online services launched by the UAE played a big role in achieving these advanced results, and among these services is UAE PASS launched by TRA in partnership with Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) and Dubai Smart. In fact, the past few months have proven the importance of this service as it reflects the unified government and integrated services in the context of the digital transformation. The number of users reached 477,000 during the first half of 2020, while the use of the digital signature increased by 211%, more than double in less than one month (15th March to 14th April).
Bashr reflects the great progress made by the UAE in the field of digital transformation and digital economy. This integrated electronic service allows investors to establish companies in the UAE electronically (remotely) via an integrated electronic platform integrated with departments and federal and local government entities concerned with licensing economic activities in the UAE within minutes, using a fast, easy and safe procedure, without the need for investors to visit any government entity, and without any additional fees for using this service.
“Mabrouk Ma Yak” service is a smart, innovative service that facilitates the process of issuing documents for newborns. This service provides UAE newborn babies with five services by one application to be submitted online. A UAE citizen can get for his/her newborn baby birth certificate, ID card, passport, and add him/her to the family book and population register.
The Federal Network, FedNet, is part of the UAE Government efforts that contributed to advancing the UAE ranking on the United Nations Online Service Index. FedNet aims to establish a smart government that provides easy and fast services to people anytime and anywhere. This is in line with the UAE vision 2021 to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world, including the achievement of happiness for citizens and residents. The FedNet project was implemented in consequence of the National Plan to Support mGovernment Initiative to provide a common and smart infrastructure.