Bahrain’s Pandemic Response and Cloud-First Policy Highlighted at 23rd GCC e-Government Executive Committee Meeting

22 June 2021

Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed chaired the 23rd GCC e-Government Executive Committee Meeting, held via videoconference. Senior executives, and director generals of other GCC e-governments attended the meeting, where the Kingdom’s Cloud-First policy and its success in combating the coronavirus pandemic were highlighted. Al Qaed welcomed the attendees and conveyed to them the greetings of the Minister of Interior and his best wishes for the committee’s success and for further cooperation between the GCC countries. He congratulated Saudi Arabia’s Digital Government Authority Governor, Ahmed Alsuwaiyan and Oman’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Ali bin Amer Al-Shaidani on their appointments, wishing them the best and thanking the outgoing members for their efforts which have had a lasting impact on achieving the objectives of the committee. Al Qaed praised the role that advanced technologies have had in supporting GCC governments in combating the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He said that GCC governments’ commitment to adopting modern technologies have allowed life to continue despite the pandemic, in addition to accelerating the pace of digital transformation in all sectors. This resulted in the launch of several high-quality eServices, while also strengthening cooperation between member states and allowing for further exchange of experience. The committee discussed several items, including a report by the General Secretariat; previously implemented decisions; latest developments concerning the GCC ePortal project; the Kingdom of Bahrain’s submitted model for measuring e-government guiding strategy implementation; a periodic report on e-governance accomplishments including the provision of eServices via multiple channels; improving the quality of Arabic content available on the internet, and other initiatives presented by member states. The Kingdom of Bahrain’s success stories in cloud computing and combatting the pandemic were also highlighted. iGA Deputy CE of Electronic Transformation, Dr. Zakareya Ahmed AlKhajah showcased the iGA’s role in supporting national efforts through promotion of social distancing, accelerating the pace of digital transformation of government services, and developing the BeAware Bahrain app. iGA Governance and Enterprise Architecture Director, Dr. Khalid Ahmed Al Mutawa gave a presentation on cloud computing challenges and solutions, as well as the phases for its implementation in Bahrain, while also sharing notable results and future projects. The meeting discussed an initiative for preparing and implementing a joint communications plan among e-governments as part of the e-governance guiding strategy. They also reviewed the minutes of meetings by other teams, such as the Committee of National Centers for Computer Emergency Response, whose recommendations they then implemented; the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) task force; and the Unified Procurement of Software and Hardware task force. The committee also discussed a proposal to establish a task force specialized in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies. Held periodically, the GCC e-Government Executive Committee Meeting aims to strengthen cooperation and the exchange of e-government knowledge among member states, producing a number of important recommendations that raise the standards of e-governments in the GCC.