Beirut, 15 February 2023--For the second consecutive year, Gulf States scored highest in the Government Electronic and Mobile Services (GEMS) Maturity Index, with Saudi Arabia coming first, followed by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates second with the same index value. On the other hand, reliance on e-government services has generally increased in the Arab region compared to 2021, especially in educational and financial institutions, but more efforts must be exerted to digitize services in other sectors such as justice and tourism. These are the key findings of the Arab region’s fourth edition of the GEMS Index, issued annually by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) since 2019.
18 Arab countries participated in this year’s index, which measures the maturity of government electronic and mobile services based on three criteria, namely service availability and development, service usage and user satisfaction, and government outreach efforts. The report also assesses results at the national and regional levels.
In this context, ESCWA GEMS project lead Nawar Al-Awa stressed the need to promote the maturity of these services at the national level, even in high-assessment States, by keeping pace with the use of new digital technologies such as virtual reality. He also highlighted the importance of cooperation and shared experiences among countries in order to avoid duplication of effort, particularly since the report indicates that there is a widening gap between Arab countries, causing results to range between 1% and 87%.
In addition, the report highlights the role of digital government services in increasing efficiency, reducing waste and corruption, promoting transparency, providing accountability, and achieving economic growth. It also mentions the key role of digital governments in promoting equality among citizens.
Al-Awa emphasized that the expansion of digital government transformation could improve service provision and provide more opportunities for people to engage in all regions – including those in remote or disadvantaged areas – as they would have better access to services be it from home, through digital kiosks and other means. “The impact of digital government transformation is not only limited to providing services, but also to achieving a number of sustainable development goals, such as enhancing digital knowledge, digital inclusion, innovation, and enhancing the efficiency of institutions,” he added.
The report further highlights the necessity of campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of using e-government services, and making them accessible to everyone.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.
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