x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Vows to keep up with change is route to smart government

Heads of government, corporate executives, world leaders and other VIPs congratulated one another on their pledges about embracing change as the final day of the second annual Government Summit drew to a close.

DUBAI // Heads of government, corporate executives, world leaders and other VIPs congratulated one another on their pledges about embracing change as the final day of the second annual Government Summit drew to a close.

Thousands gathered at Madinat Jumeirah’s Arena Hall to share knowledge, experiences and ideas about how governments must adapt to keep up with their citizen’s expectations, as well as a result of advancing technologies.

“Change is not a new concept to humanity but something rooted in the nature of mankind. What is distinct about change in our time is the rate at which we experience it.” said the chief executive of du Osman Sultan.

And for most of the summit’s speakers, smart government was the name of the game.

“The customer is at the core of the smart government. The priority in the shift towards a smart government is to create the infrastructure that enables customers to meet their service requirements swiftly and smoothly using their mobile phones,” added Mohammed Al Ghanim, director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince, returned for the third day to review a number of the sessions.

Awards for the best mobile government services in various fields, both within each emirate and on a federal level, were handed out at the close of the event.

Other awards for high-performing government services across the Arab world and on a global scale, were taken home by Kuwait’s chamber of commerce and Singapore’s land and transport authority respectively.

Sheikh Mohammed also presented the award for university students who have developed smart government applications in the UAE. This went to Khalifa University students who developed the iQ application, a complete queuing system designed to make waiting times a thing of the past, and MOH, an application that provides a complete directory to Ministry of Health services and can be accessed from any mobile platform. The latter also allows direct interaction with the ministry by submitting applications and finalising them. Dh1 million in prize money was also handed out as part of the award.

After the awards were handed out, Sheikh Mohammed surprised the audience by stepping up to the podium. “Forgive me but I couldn’t come up on stage and not say something about this summit,” he said.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE’s aim was to create hope, life and future – in addition to making people happy.

“I would like to thank all guests of the UAE, who took part in the summit,” he said. “It is the summit of industrious and diligent people. I am happy that our country is gifted with the quality of teamwork, which is the best since its employees are leaders, our aim is creating hope, life and future in addition to making people happy.”

Sheikh Mohammed, speaking about a minister from a fellow GCC country who asked him why the UAE was more focused on people’s happiness rather than their satisfaction said: “I answered that, satisfaction represents a short period of time but happiness lasts more or is semi-permanent. This is similar to victory, because the victory is temporary but excellence is eternal.”

He concluded his statement by expressing his happiness over the success of the Government Summit, to applause from the audience.

Dozens of volunteers were also honoured for their efforts, with Sheikh Mohammed personally thanking them.

malkhan@thenational.ae