At the invitation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a meeting was held between TRA officials and H.E. Vincenzo Aquaro, Chief of Digital Government at United Nations - Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to discuss the prospects of the UN e-Government Study and its use for the digital performance development.
On the UAE side, the meeting was chaired by H.E. Salem Al Housani, Acting Deputy Director General for the mGovernment Sector, with the participation of Eng. Tariq Al Awadhi, Executive Director of Spectrum Affairs, and a number of officials from the work teams of digital services, digital participation, and ICT infrastructure.
During the meeting, the UAE presented its observations on the United Nations e-Government Study 2020, the global experiences mentioned therein, and lessons and information that countries can take into account in their digital transformation endeavors. The UAE side also presented its ideas on the methods of the study, and raised its inquiries on a range of issues such as the specifics, challenges and prospects that relate to the UAE and the Arab region in general in the fields of digital transformation.
The meeting discussed the global challenges represented by the fast pace of developments and changes, and the era of the fourth industrial revolution including applications of artificial intelligence such as robots, blockchain, and other emerging technologies, and how to employ these technologies in the field of digital government.
Al Housani welcomed the UN representative, saying: "Since 2001, the United Nations e-Government Study has been a periodic station to monitor the experiences of nations and countries, and as a benchmarking reference for countries seeking to advance their digital programs. We value the role of UNDESA in disseminating the culture of spreading knowledge and mutual benefit by highlighting global success stories within the mentioned study, and we thank them for fulfilling our request to clarify matters whenever we need to."
Moreover, Mr. Vincenzo congratulated the UAE on its outstanding performance in all indicators, highlighting the UAE’s advanced global position and leadership in all indicators, and representing a model for other countries in the region in digital transformation. Vincenzo responded to the inquiries of the work teams in great detail, referring to the importance of applying the recommendations of the report based on the local peculiarities and the needs of customers.
On the changes in the evaluation mechanisms of the e-Government Development Index, Vincenzo said: “First, I would like to thank the UAE for its cooperation in translating and publishing the e-Government Study in Arabic in a joint initiative with the UN. This indicates the UAE's interest in spreading digital knowledge at the Arabic level. As for the study, it is known that it is updated every two years, which applies to standards and targets, and it takes into account global changes, and the efforts of countries to develop themselves in the digital path. Every time we find progress that requires raising the threshold of expectations, which encourages us to move forward, and we are happy with this meeting that reflects the UAE’s willingness to benefit from the study.”
The e-Government Development Index consists of three sub-indicators: Online Services Index (OSI), Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) and the Human Capital Index (HCI). It also includes the e-Participation Index as part of OSI. The UAE seeks to achieve global leadership in OSI and other indicators.