The Bahrain Open Data Portal clinched the prestigious title of Best Open Data Initiative at the 5th GCC Digital Government Award, marking a significant achievement for the kingdom. This accolade was bestowed during the inauguration of the second Digital Government Forum in Riyadh, held under the theme ‘our future is now’.
Notably, several Bahraini initiatives showcased their prowess at the forum, advancing to the final stages after competing against a diverse array of GCC projects across multiple categories. The Commercial Registration Portal (Sijilat) secured a nomination in the Best Digital Service category, while the National Suggestion and Complaint System (Tawasul) emerged as a finalist in the Best Community e-Participation category, underscoring Bahrain’s commitment to digital innovation and excellence.
Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) chief executive Mohammed Ali Al Qaed expressed his pride in the Bahrain Open Data Portal’s win, reaffirming that this victory is a reflection of the vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in adopting digital transformation and investing in technology. It also underlines government efforts led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, to accelerate digital transformation across key sectors of the Kingdom, he noted.
Mr Al Qaed also extended his congratulations to the Interior Minister and the Ministerial Committee for Information and Communication Technology (MCICT) chairman, General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, on the project’s success.
“This GCC-level accolade highlights Bahrain’s exemplary digital advancements, distinguishing its success and enhancing its reputation in the regional and global ICT sector, thereby helping attract top tech companies and investors to the kingdom,” he said.
The GCC Digital Government Award is a biennial competition in which government entities showcase best practices that align with GCC standards and goals and contribute to the development of a digital economy and society. It allows GCC entities to gain knowledge and lead in digital governance, providing a platform for competition, knowledge sharing, and enhancing customer satisfaction, as well as promoting a knowledge-based economy and global competitiveness.
Mr Al Qaed shared insights into Bahrain’s approach to facilitating data and information exchange between government and private entities with the aim of enhancing service quality.
“Bahrain’s Privacy and Data Protection Law, along with digital policies such as the Once-Only Data Policy, have streamlined government services by reducing redundant information requests. The successful projects, including the electronic processing of ID card services and Sijilat, have been streamlined through data integration between over 50 entities.”
He added that the unlimited support the IT sector receives from Bahrain’s senior leadership and government contributes to the creation of ICT infrastructure that enables smooth data exchange, thereby enhancing government e-services for citizens and residents. He also reviewed several digital projects, such as the Unified Access System and eKYC, which verifies individual identities and facilitates secure access to government e-services.
One of the main objectives of the GCC eGovernment Award is to highlight digital government achievements and success stories, announce the 2023 Digital Transformation Index, build partnerships with local and international stakeholders, showcase challenges and best practices, and create a platform for organisations, specialists, and experts to exchange knowledge.