iGA Deputy Chief highlights Bahrain’s digital transformation initiatives

SDGs Bahrain News
iGA Deputy Chief highlights Bahrain’s digital transformation initiatives

New York, July18 (BNA): Deputy ChiefExecutive of Electronic Transformation, Dr. Zakariya AlKhajah represented theKingdom of Bahrain at a panel discussion titled ‘The Role of DigitalCooperation in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, held at the UNHeadquarters in New York.

The event coincided with the High-Level Political Forum onSustainable Development 2023 and was attended by the Minister for Housing andUrban Planning, Amna bint Ahmed Al Romaihi, and the Minister of SustainableDevelopment, Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif.

The Kingdom of Bahrain presented its second VoluntaryNational Review (VNR) report on the progress made in achieving the SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDGs) while exchanging knowledge and best practices onglobal digital cooperation.

Dr. AlKhajah highlighted Bahraini digital initiatives thatdirectly contributed to the SDGs. He emphasized the importance of developingsustainable services and ensuring their quality, fostering public-privatepartnerships, strategic planning, and digital transformation. All these effortsalign with and support the SDGs.

He also highlighted the Government Plan (2023-2026), whichencompasses a range of policies and initiatives that are aligned with the SDGS.

He talked about the significance of developing andmaintaining services, ensuring their quality, fostering partnerships with theprivate sector, strategic planning, and digital transformation, adding that allthese measures directly contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Dr. AlKhajah further explained Bahrain's belief in the keyrole of the private sector as a partner in the development process.

To support this approach, Bahrain issued a ‘Guide RegulatingPartnerships between Public and Private Sectors’ that defines the processtowards effective partnerships, covering service efficiency and quality througha competitive environment among private service providers, leveraging privatesector expertise, attracting new investment, and generating job opportunities.

Dr AlKhajah highlighted specific areas that underwentprivatization. For example, at the Ministry of Interior, minor trafficaccidents are now handled by insurance companies, which issue accident reportsunder the supervision of the General Directorate of Traffic (GDT).

In the judicial field, the private sector has been assignedthe task of handling notary services adhering to Bahrain's notary publicregulations, including document registration and enhancing notary serviceefficiency through integrated legal controls and requirements.

Dr. AlKhajah also discussed initiatives such as delegatingthe task of pre-employment medical examination services for expatriate workersto the private sector, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.

Additionally, Bahrain has developed strategic partnershipswith leading technology companies, including Amazon Web Services (AWS),Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, to leverage advanced technologies, particularlycloud computing.

He provided an overview of Bahrain's efforts to supportdigital transformation processes that align with the SDGs. For example, in linewith No Poverty goal, the Kingdom offers eServices promoting social solidarityand poverty reduction, such as Zakat, Financial Support, and GovernmentSubsidies assistance.

To achieve Quality Education, the iGA provides services suchas student exam results and the issuing of student certificates. Regarding theUN’s Goal 9, focusing on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, Bahrainestablished systems for building permits and record-keeping.

It also supports Goal 16, emphasizing peace, justice, andstrong institutions, through services such as court proceedings, prosecutionservices, and the Islamiyat app. Bahrain's model for public-privatepartnerships contributes to achieving Goal 17 of the SDGs.

Dr. Zakariya also discussed Bahrain's Mobile strategy, whichaims to streamline the number of applications targeting individuals, investors,and visitors. The Kingdom has also built an ecosystem which provides sharedgovernment services, including a national payment platform, national gatewayinfrastructure, and the Government Data Network (GDN).

He highlighted Bahrain's efforts during the pandemic,including prioritizing public health, mitigating its impact on the economy,achieving economic recovery, and ensuring financial sustainability, noting thatBahrain has successfully provided healthcare services, tests, and free vaccinesto all citizens and residents during that period.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development,under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is heldfrom 10th to 19th July 2023. It focuses on accelerating recovery from theCOVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda forSustainable Development at all levels. It also reviews the SDGs and the majorefforts made towards achieving them.