Mixed performances by Arab states in e-government action

January 11, 2010
By

Bahrain has improved its United Nations e-government readiness rankings, jumping this year to the top of the Arab world and to the third spot in Asia and to the 13th place globally.

No other Arab country or Middle Eastern country has ever reached such high levels

“Our ambition was to move forward and to be among the top five countries in Asia, but thanks to the dedication and devotion of the team in charge of e-government, we have surpassed our own known abilities and jumped past several countries with a rich history of achievement in the field,” Shaikh Ahmad Bin Atiyatallah Al Khalifa, cabinet affairs minister, told the media.

“While we highly value the outstanding tribute to Bahrain’s success from the United Nations, we will not fall into self-complacency and we will work harder with all our partners to enhance our rankings at all levels and consolidate our achievements,” he said.

Bahrain was 42nd globally and eighth in Asia in 2008.

“These spectacular improvements place on us a higher level of responsibilities and duties as we will face the greater challenge of consolidating our progress and improving our ranks according to global indicators,” Shaikh Ahmad said.

According to the latest study released by the United Nations, Arab countries have had mixed fortunes since 2008.

The UAE fell 17 notches, slipping from 32nd to 49th while Qatar fell by nine ranks, moving from 53rd to 62nd. Lebanon had a spectacular fall by 19 ranks, slipping to 93rd globally, while Syria went down from 119 to 133. Somalia remained at the end of the 184-nation survey.

But it was not all gloom for the Arab world.

Tunisia made the greatest leap globally, moving up by 58 ranks, from 124th to 66th. Morocco went up by 14 notches to reach 126 and Iraq by 15 ranks to the 136th spot.

The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states fared well, ranking among the top eight countries in the Arab world, with only Jordan and Tunisia taking up a niche among them.

Globally, Korea was top of the class, up from 6th, two years ago. The US came second, two ranks better than in 2008, Canada was third after it gained four ranks and the UK was fourth thanks to a six-notch advance. Sweden, top of the world in 2008, slipped to 12th, just one rank ahead of Bahrain.

The 2010 UN Global E-Government Readiness Survey assesses UN member states on their application of information and communication technologies to serve and interact with citizens. Its composite index includes a web measure index, a telecommunication infrastructure index and a human capital index.

Arab countries e-readiness ranking

1. Bahrain (13 globally – 42 in 2008)
2. UAE (49 – 32)
3. Kuwait (50 – 57)
4. Jordan (51 – 50)
5. Saudi Arabia (58 – 70)
6. Qatar (62 – 53)
7. Tunisia (66 – 124)
8. Oman (82 – 84)
9. Egypt (86 – 79)
10. Lebanon (93 – 74)
11. Libya (114 – 120)
12. Morocco (126- 140)
13. Algeria (131 – 121)
14. Syria (133 – 119)
15. Iraq (136 – 151)
16. Sudan (154 – 161)
17. Mauritania (157 – 168)
18. Yemen (164 – 164)
19. Somalia (184 – 183)

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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