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iGA Showcases Achievements to Mark GCC Statistics Day

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The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) joined other GCC statistics centers and authorities in celebrating GCC Statistics Day. Observed annually on 24 December, the theme this year is Statistics for Sustainable Opportunities.

iGA Acting Chief Executive and Deputy CE of Electronic Transformation, Dr. Zakareya AlKhaja congratulated all professionals working  in the sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain and across the Gulf. He praised their efforts in gathering and issuing data, and in implementing national statistical initiatives that help to develop the sector, shape national legislations, impact strategic decision-making, and fulfil the visions of the GCC countries.

Dr. Al Khaja highlighted a number of iGA achievements during 2023, key among which was the launch of the revamped Bahrain Open Data Portal, data.gov.bh that was developed in line with best international practices and United Nations open data standards, and in accordance with government aspirations. These achievements are also in line with the directives of His Excellency, General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Information and Communication (MCICT) and in recognition of the importance of official data and statistics in achieving development, supporting decision-making, shaping strategies and policies, and conducting research.

The Open Data Portal, in turn, won the Best Open Data Initiative at the GCC Digital Government Award held recently in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Additionally, the iGA’s Statistics and Population Registry was able to prepare and update a number of databases and encourage the optimal use of records by creating the national water statistics database, an oil database for foreign trade, and a Gulf common market database. Moreover, a number of national surveys were implemented, such as the Economic Establishment Survey, the International Comparison Program Survey, and the Survey of Measuring the Level of Implementation of Joint Gulf Action Decisions on Reality, as well as the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2024.

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Dr. AlKhaja underscored the importance of prioritizing matters related to identity and civil records. ID card processes and record updates were enhanced through the launch of an online service center, the completion of a national birth registry, and a new address system in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture. This is in addition to supporting the digital transformation of government services by feeding population registry data into electronic systems such as the BeAware app, the births and deaths registry, the unified authentication system, ‘eKey’, and the government hospitals system used to verify patient data accuracy and provide healthcare to people of determination. The Identity and Population Registry received 6,948 cases from the National Suggestion & Complaint System (Tawasul) during 2023 up until October, with the total number of transactions reaching 692,543, 623,219 of which were completed entirely digitally.

The iGA was able to effectively achieve regional and global cooperation through a proposal for a statistical business register in coordination with the GCC Statistical Center (GCC-Stat), in addition to coordinating between the Center and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to calculate e-commerce indicators. These statistics were uploaded to the Bahrain Data Portal. The iGA also represented Bahrain in 23 committees and task forces affiliated with GCC-Stat and participated in the tenth meeting of the Technical Committee of the Arab Statistics Initiative. The iGA hosted the SDMX Global Conference 2023, the event’s ninth edition, for the first time in the Middle East.  Held under the theme Empowering Data Communities, the event discussed the latest statistical and descriptive data developments, offering participants the opportunity to exchange experience and benefit from the latest technologies.

He also highlighted the signing of several agreements, including a memorandum of understanding with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics aimed at exchanging experience and developing the statistics field in both countries; a non-disclosure agreement with the Economic Development Board (EDB) to ensure the confidentiality of data exchange between the two parties in the field of foreign investment statistics; and a cooperation agreement with the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) to implement the 2023/2024 tourism statistics project. These agreements indicate the effectiveness of cooperation between the iGA and various public, private, regional, and international entities.

GCC Statistics Day was established through a GCC Ministerial Committee decision at its 141st session held on 24 November 2016 in Manama to reinforce the role of statistics in the development, planning, and reorganizations in the sector, the strengthening of partnerships between GCC countries, and the advancement of a joint Gulf course of action.

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