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UN benchmarking index lists UAE among top achievers in e-government globally

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, September 11 - 2002 @ 09:40

Globally, the index has ranked the UAE as the first in the Arab World and 21st worldwide, giving it 2.17 points. This positions it ahead of Japan (2.12), Ireland (2.16), Austria (2.14) and Russia (1.89) and following closely behind Italy (2.21) and Luxembourg (2.20). The top five countries in the list include the US (3.11), Australia (2.60) and New Zealand (2.59). In the Middle East, the UAE is ranked at the top of the list, followed by Kuwait (2.12), Bahrain (2.04) and Lebanon (2.00).

The index was developed using three key parameters for awarding points: the country’s official online presence, telecommunications infrastructure and human development capacity. It also gave weightage to the citizen-centric approach of e-Government initiatives. UAE figures among 36 countries that fall in the top-rung “High e-Government Capacity” in the score range of between 2.00 and 3.35. The other three categories used for the benchmarking exercise were Medium e-Government Capacity (1.60 to 1.99 points), Minimal e-Government Capacity (1.00 to 1.59 points) and Deficient e-Government Capacity (below 1.00 points).

“It makes us extremely proud that the UN has recognized the UAE as one of the e-Governments that have reached an advanced stage. This honour crowns the UAE’s earnest efforts to migrate to customer-centric online platforms within a short time-frame,” said Salem Al Shair, Director e-Services, Dubai e-Government. “In just one year of full-fledged operations, Dubai e-Government has achieved dramatic progress and is now on the verge of launching its second phase which involves the gradual integration of Web services of the different government departments into a unified portal. We are heading in the right direction and will soon reach the next stage of e-Government progression.”

“True to the UN’s vision of e-Government, Dubai e-Government has been following the principle of automating public services to ease the lives of the people. Dubai e-Government was set up specifically to create a centralized automated platform to offer most government services online to the community, with a vision was to turn Dubai into a leading hub of the New Economy. It is extremely heartening that the UN has recognized this achievement by placing the UAE among the top countries with interactive portals catering to the citizens.”

The UN Index has identified five stages of e-Government while assessing the member countries: Emerging Presence (in which the country is committed to becoming an e-government player); Enhanced Presence (offering dynamic and specialized updated information, with sites linking other official pages); Interactive Presence (providing access to a wide range of government institutions and services, with capacity to search specialised databases and download/submit forms); Transactional Presence (offering secure transactions like obtaining visas, passports, birth and death records, licences, permits, car registration fees, utility bills and taxes) and Seamless Integration offering capacity to instantly access any service in a “unified package,” eliminating demarcation of ministerial/departmental/agency lines and clustering services along common needs.

While 17 highly developed countries figure in the transactional stage, no country has yet reached the ultimate Seamless Integration stage, which is the desired objective of all e-governments.

The UN’s Benchmarking e-Government project was a complex exercise in which all 190 UN member states were accessed and over 1,900 national government websites were examined. UN staff also made site visits to several countries, while in-depth interviews were conducted by telephone and email. A questionnaire was also sent to selected individuals. The indexing exercise was based primarily on a country’s capacity to develop, sustain and provide unimpeded access to timely, useful and relevant information and services for every segment of the population.

The UN report, which used Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure as one of the parameters for awarding points, has also singled out the UAE as one of the global leaders in online access as 33 per cent of its population has online connections.

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Wednesday, September 11- 2002 @ 9:40 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.

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