Focus on future of digital government

MANAMA: Bahrain has deployed modern technologies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Information and eGovernment Authority chief executive Mohammed Al Qaed said yesterday.

This includes helping more than 45 government entities implement remote work policies and offer more of their services online, in addition to allowing 6,500 employees secure access to the Government Data Network remotely, he said.

Mr Al Qaed was addressing a webinar, ‘Future Vision of Digital Government Through the Lens of Covid-19, organised by Saudi Arabia’s eGovernment Programme ‘YESSER’ and the World Bank.

The webinar was attended by digital government experts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK, Finland, and Australia, as well as speakers from the World Bank Group, World Bank, and the UN.

He outlined how Bahrain’s government has been proactively harnessing latest technology in its efforts against the pandemic.

He also pointed to the kingdom’s goal to provide a centralised infrastructure for government services, and its focus on cybersecurity.

During the first session on ‘Digital government practices: Covid-19 – an immediate response’, Mr Al Qaed showcased Bahrain’s digital transformation experience, citing His Majesty King Hamad’s vision to employ modern technologies and Artificial Intelligence in improving government services.

He further commended the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, and the support extended to further develop and deploy the use of technology as part of national efforts to combat the virus.

Government entities also benefited from conference video calling technologies, Zoom and various Cisco applications, used in some of the high-level ministerial meetings.

He noted iGA’s efforts in safeguarding government data by relying on the best protection systems and programmes.

Mr Al Qaed discussed how the kingdom’s Cloud-First Policy has supported national efforts aimed at combating Covid-19.

Since 2017, approximately 61 per cent of services have been transferred to the cloud computing system, reducing costs, improving efficiency and offering unlimited capacity, he said.

The official also outlined prominent legislations supporting the development of the e-government programme.

Mr Al Qaed also discussed the kingdom’s BeAware app, and its vital role monitoring active Covid-19 cases using Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.

These technologies help save precious time and effort in addition to easing the burden on medical staff, allowing them to focus on active cases that require treatment and thorough observation.

Mr Al Qaed said the app has recorded more than 758,000 downloads and more than 401,000 registrations by citizens and residents.

Its features include drive-through test bookings for individuals completing their home self-isolation periods, providing online access to test results, latest local and global Covid-19 updates as well as measures and guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.



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