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UN E-Government Survey in the News  
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M-powering People
Source: Khaleej Times, http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=/data/editorial/2013/September/editorial_September56.xml&section=editorial
Source Date: Saturday, September 28, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Institution and HR Management
Country: United Arab Emirates
Created: Sep 30, 2013

The Government’s decision to inject Dh200 million into its Mobile Government Initiative and fast-track it will go a long way in enhancing the UAE’s position as an m-powered state. Launched in May with the vision of “providing service to people wherever they are and at any time”, the initiative is now being pushed for completion in two years.

 

Once implemented, it will allow all smartphone owners and mobile device users to access federal services.

 Since the first law for e-government in Dubai was decreed in 2009, the UAE’s rating in terms of information and communication technology shot up, establishing it as the most high-tech country in the Middle East and North Africa and 24th globally. It was also ranked seventh in the online service index in the United Nations’ E-Government Survey in 2012.

 One of the factors that boosted the rating was the high mobile phone usage in the UAE. The focus on m-governance will see even greater public participation as many people may not have computers but all have mobile phones, which have become as essential as other basic living commodities like food, shelter and clothing.

 The UAE has one of the highest mobile phone penetrations in the world. By the end of February, there were 14.14 million users, indicating a 171.8 per cent user ratio. The smartphone user rate is 73.8 per cent. Using mobile phones to check in at airports and pay for purchases has already gained worldwide currency. Now  making government services available via mobile phones will help in their wider dissemination.  It will also reduce long queues at counters, provide service round the clock and encourage state departments to come up with more creative solutions.

 All this will contribute to improve the quality of life for all UAE residents, which is the basic goal of UAE Vision 2021 that seeks to transform the nation into one of the best countries in the world.

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