The UAE advances its digital governance via emerging tech and service rating systems

Published on February 01, 2024

I believe the UAE stands as a pioneering force in digital governance, actively using technology to revolutionize how its government functions.

Over the last two decades, using information and communication technologies to streamline services has really steered the nation from paper-based operations to a digitally empowered state.

Witnessing this impressive transformation, it’s clear that the UAE’s leadership is proactive in recognizing how technology can reshape government operations. This is particularly highlighted by the Supreme Audit Institution’s (SAI) digital transformation program, aligning its practices with the nation’s tech-driven evolution.

In my view, the global recognition in the UN’s 2022 EGDI report solidifies the UAE’s leadership in digital governance, securing a top spot in Western Asia and trailing only Korea and Singapore in all of Asia.

Moreover, Dubai’s recent achievement of being among the top 10 in the Global Power City Index 2023, issued by Japan’s Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, demonstrates the UAE’s ascending global significance.

I think it’s impressive to see a country embracing technology so much to make things better for its people. The UAE’s dedication to using new tech for their government is something many other countries can learn from.

A leader in adopting new, emerging technologies

I strongly believe the UAE government is a frontrunner when it comes to embracing emerging technologies, showing a remarkable commitment to their integration into governance.

Take Blockchain, for instance, where the government aims to track half of its transactions using this revolutionary technology, offering transparency and real-time information on an unchangeable, decentralized ledger.

They’ve also made a plan called the AE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. They’re super serious about AI and want to be the best at it. They’re so serious that they even have a whole Ministry for Artificial Intelligence (perhaps the only government in the world with one) but definitely the first!

Their big goal is to be the most ready country for AI. To help with this, they’ve set up a special university, the Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, to train people to work in an AI-powered government.

Also, the recent collaboration signed in March 2023, forming “The UAE Centre for Government Digital Excellence” supported by Microsoft, is a strategic move. It demonstrates a willingness to leverage industry expertise and cutting-edge technologies to enhance government operations and government services.

They want to learn from the best and use the newest technologies. This Center would mainly focus on studying how these fancy technologies affect how the government does its job.

I think it’s pretty smart of the UAE to focus on these technologies. It shows they’re really thinking ahead and trying to make things better for everyone. Having a special university just for AI is a big step, and I’m curious to see how this will change how governments work in the future.

Rating systems for their public services

The UAE government is really serious about making their public services better.

Each year, a comprehensive evaluation is conducted on approximately 124 government services. These assessments are made on a wide range of services offered through ministry facilities, call centres, and digital platforms.

This year’s evaluation resulted in six service centres achieving top ratings. Notably, the Al Dhafra Centre in the Western Region demonstrated exceptional performance, elevating its rating from four stars last year to an outstanding six-star recognition in 2023.

Conversely, among the services that performed below expectations was Kalba Hospital. In response, Sheikh Mohammed announced, via communication on the X platform (formerly known as Twitter), the decision to replace its director.

This announcement reflects a clear stance on accountability and addressing service inadequacies.

For those who don’t know, the implementation of the Global Star Rating System for Services since 2011, which was later expanded in 2019 to cover various service channels (websites, applications, etc.), illustrates a strong commitment to international standards. This system’s evaluation process considers customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shoppers, ensuring that only the highest quality services are delivered to the citizens.

Final words…

The UAE is really serious about using technology to make things better. By doing this, they show how committed they are to giving top-quality services to people and businesses.

As the UAE keeps going this way, it’s making strategies and plans that will change how governments and services can work everywhere.

Also, I believe it’s really amazing that the UAE is checking on their public services so closely. It shows they care about making things better for all citizens. And it’s smart to have a way to know what’s working well and what needs to be fixed.

They’re setting new standards for how great things can be done worldwide.


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About the Author

Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.

He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.

After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.

He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.

As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.

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