UAE hailed as leader in smart government technology

The UAE launched the Mobile Government initiative in 2013 and aimed to deliver 24-hour public service within two years

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Experts and policy makers described the UAE’s experience with “smart government” as one of the most successful implementations of the technology in the world in comments made Monday during the Summit on the Global Agenda held in Dubai.

The UAE had introduced the Mobile Government initiative in 2013, when the country’s Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum challenged government entities to offer 24-hour public service by the end of the next two years.

“The UAE’s success is distinct not only for the effective use of technology but also because it combines the public and private sectors in the effort to create government of the future,” Yassar Jarrar, member of the Global Agenda Council, said while speaking during a briefing on the day of the Summit, which was held in Dubai.

While the concept of smart governments is more prevalent in in western countries, Jarrar noted that more states are beginning to adopt the technology in other parts of the world.

“What comes as unexpected are the innovative initiatives undertaken in new regions. Earlier the activities in smart government were focused in western countries but now there is a lot of activity in other countries such as Nigeria and India,” he said.

These remarks were made on the sidelines of the “Governments of the Future” panel where one expert pointed out the novelty of the technology and that states still have a long way to go before being able to use smart government to its full potential, sustainably.

“There is a still a long way to go for governments to effectively use technology. Most governments do not know how to use it effectively, particularly in a sustainable way,” Rolf Alter, director of Public Governance and Territorial Development at the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), was quoted as saying in a press release.

Another expert claimed that there is a widening gap between policy makers and civil society which contributed to a loss of trust in political leadership in parts of the world, the statement said.

“The world is facing a crisis of trust erosion. The gap is widening between the rulers and the ruled. Many countries are comingup with short term policies to deal with long term challenges. Such an approach is actually worsening the situation,” Espen Barth Eide, managing director and member of the managing board of the World Economic Forum, said.

To tackle the issue, the Think Tank Leaders Forum, comprising 25 international policy and research institutes which will advise World Economic Forum members and constituents, was launched on the sidelines of the summit.

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