REGE 21 Workshop hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain a Success

14 June 2021

Information & eGovernment Authority held an engaging and productive virtual Regional eGovernment Experts workshop on 9th June 2021 to provide vital inputs to improve eGovernment Development Indicators for the upcoming United Nations eGovernment Survey Report 2022, a globally recognized index and benchmark on the development of eGovernment. The workshop, organized under the patronage of H.E. Mohammed Al Qaed, Chief Executive, Information & eGovernment Authority, brought senior UNDESA officials, leaders of digital government in the Arab & Gulf Region, ICT experts, decision makers, academicians, researchers, government officials and practioners across the globe. The speakers and participants in the workshop praised Kingdom of Bahrain’s effort to strengthen the cooperation and exchange of experiences between Arab countries in the e-government field. The event granted the participants deep insights into the achievements of GCC countries in the digital government field as well as the ways to address the issues and challenges pertaining to UN eGovernment indicators. In his welcome message, Mr. Al Qaed talked about the significance of the UN eGovernment Development Report and how it paves the way for the future direction of the Digital Government. Mr. Al Qaed added that the UN eGovernment Report "provides visionary directions to set the international ICT Trends. He stressed the importance of cooperation between the GCC and Arab region and UNDESA. The region takes the report seriously by imbedding it in their national strategies and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). He discussed the major technological advancements such as 5 G, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence that has been implemented in many countries across the region and how ICT advancements have accelerated the diversification of the economy in many countries in the region. He also stressed how technological advancement had supported the government's effort to address the challenges related to COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, Mr. Al Qaed highlighted the importance of reflecting the regional challenges and technological advancement aspirations in the UN Report. In his keynote speech, Mr. Vincenzo Aquaro, Chief, Digital Government Branch, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provided a glimpse of Global eGovernment scenario and the methodology associated with various components of eGovernment development components such as Online Service Index (OSI), Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) and Human Capital Index (HCI). He also highlighted the proposed improvements in Online Service Index and other pilot initiatives including use of AI for more effective groupings of member states. The keynote speech was followed by a session where the digital leaders of eGovernment in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, , , and Morocco presented their digital achievements and their future plans with the participation of Egypt and Jordan. The presentations highlighted the significant digital investments and their emphasis on accelerating the digital transformation aligned to the National Vision leading to make a difference in the constituents’ life and the country’s economy. Digital Government experts spoke about the impact of SDGs on the UN eGovernment Survey. They stressed the need to have a new collaborative approach to data collection and should also give more importance to the demand side of the digital transformation. The round table sessions participated by the UN Expert, ICT Experts and eGovernment leaders in the Arab Gulf region discussed the global eGovernment trends and identified the UN eGovernment major findings with respect to the region. The participants explored milestones, issues and challenges concerning eGovernment development indicators to help GCC & Arab countries to learn from the best practices and share knowledge about the United Nation's e-Government Development Index (EGDI) and its impact on the world today. Information & eGovernment Authority will be summarizing all observations, suggestions, and recommendations resulted from the workshop and submit them to UNDESA to presented at the UN Expert Group meeting responsible to update the UN eGovernment Survey 2022.