(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director General, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority - Information and eGovernment Sector, has emphasised the fortifying role of eGovernment at the opening ceremony of The Arab Thought Foundation's Eleventh Annual Conference on November 26, 2012.
The three-day conference was held at Grand Hyatt, Dubai. It aims to discuss the challenges Arab governments face and on the mechanisms to overcome those along with finding newer and better methods of delivering services to the public.
Workshops and plenary sessions were held alongside the conference to complement their topic of focus, ¿Citizen and Future ofGovernments'. Workshops focused on ¿Building infrastructure for future generations', ¿Participative policy making: engaging stakeholders' and ¿Delivering more with less - smaller government for better services'.
Al Suwaidi began his speech by sharing the thought of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the nation that the human being is the core of any civilisation and the centre of progress.
He pointed out that some of the challenges that the Arab countries face: include the poor communication between the leaders and their people, the blockage of government information that the public rightfully deserves to know, corruption and other related social and political issues can be avoided or dealt with by adopting the eGovernment.
The eGovernment programme promotes openness in governance and aids in unrestricted and fair access to government services and information in a cost-effective manner. Even people from remote areas can have equal opportunity to access the information and contact leaders. The adoption of social media becomes eminent here as it offers the necessary tool for individuals to communicate with their leaders and vice versa.
Al Suwaidi highlighted the examples of how the UAE governments and leaders use social media to maintain communication with the public. He referred to the United Nations' E-Government Survey 2012 that pointed out the Republic of Korea and the United Arab Emirates to be the only countries to score 100 percent on whether they take the views of citizens in the decision-making process.
He also added the importance of open data in promoting transparency and access to knowledge for all in addition to the fact that it is foreseen to yield economic returns of 30 billion and 140 billion euros in direct and indirect transactions respectively.
Al Suwaidi said that the four revolutions that will help determine the future of governments are: the information revolution represented by Web 2.0, demographic revolution represented by the Internet generation, social revolution represented by social networking and the business revolution represented by the ability of companies to achieve new milestones through communication.
Al Suwaidi concluded his speech by highlighting the achievements of the UAE since its formation in the year 1971 including the recent achievements; especially in the field of eGovernment. As per the United Nations' E-Government Survey 2012, the UAE was placed at 6th rank globally on the eParticipation index; up from 86th rank in the 2010 report and at 28th rank on the eGovernment development index; up from 49th rank in the 2010 report.
The report stated: the rapid progress of the United Arab Emirates is a best practice case highlighting how effective e-government can help support development.