A panel of experts with detailed knowledge of e-Government projects in the region said that Governments, regulatory authorities, municipalities and public utilities in the GCC would benefit from a more collaborative approach to improve delivery of customer focused e-Government services.
Hosting the session Dr. Hafez Abdelazim, CEO, ITIDA, said:
“Governments and public bodies in the GCC should be applauded for the pace with which they have embraced e-Government over the past five years to make life easier for residents, citizens and businesses. However, in many cases the speed with which new services have been launched has resulted in a fragmented and sometimes confusing landscape for customers.”
In addition to adopting a collaborative mindset among government organisations and public bodies, the workshop also identified selecting a robust infrastructure, the development of a single, integrated online portal, and delivering services to customers clearly and concisely in their native languages as necessary preconditions for effective delivery of e-Government services.
Mohammed AlQaed, CEO, e-Government Authority, Kingdom of Bahrain, commented:
“The biggest challenge is for government organisations to change their mindsets. Seamless end-to-end e-Government is not possible with a silo mentality. It requires a collaborative approach. Once we had overcome this issue in Bahrain, the real challenge was to integrate the different delivery models in to a single, customer focused portal.”
Yasser Elkady, managing director Middle East and Africa, Cisco Systems endorsed the view of Mr AlQaed and said, “A clear strategy that encompasses all stakeholders is a prerequisite. Offering e-services in isolation fails to harness efficiencies in Government and frequently fails to improve the level of service to customers. The infrastructure should be seamless and provide an end-to-end solution that not only pushes information in an easily accessible way to customers but also provides them with a return path for online payments and processing.”
The ITIDA workshop also featured contributions from Link Development and Arabize, two Egyptian companies that have broad experience of working with government organisations across the GCC to implement e-Government services.
Sherif Dahan, GCC territory manager, Link Development, stressed the importance of a unified portal with a username and password for access to all services, while Manal Amin, CEO, Arabize, focused her comments on the broad demographic make-up of the GCC.
“e-Government cannot be exclusive. It must be inclusive and available to all residents whether they are citizens or residents, local or foreign-owned businesses. It is essential, therefore, that portals are available in the languages of the population within the GCC,”commented Ms Amin
ITIDA is the organisation that is tasked with developing the IT sector in Egypt. The agency relies on partnerships with local and international institutions and bodies with the aim of enhancing the human capacity and technical skills that has lead to Egypt becoming one of the fastest growing hotspots for the global outsourcing sector.
Egypt has been recognised by Yankee Group, the international firm of technology analysts, as the Middle Eastern country best positioned to take advantage of the worldwide boom in outsourcing.
“The Egyptian ICT industry is at the forefront of outsourced solutions providers, servicing government bodies and industry through a highly qualified multilingual workforce who can deliver international class solutions in both Arabic and English,” said Dr Abdelazim.
Sunday, November 9- 2008 @ 10:19 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.