Dubai, Feb 13 IANS | 6 months ago

The residents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be able by 2016 to use their smartphones to get most of the public services, the UAE government said Wednesday, the last day of a government summit in Dubai.


"The newest initiative to empower UAE citizens and residents by giving them access to all government services through their smartphones and tablets is one of our biggest projects ever," Xinhua quoted Mohammed Abdulla Al-Gergawi, the UAE minister of cabinet affairs and chairman of the organising committee of the three-day summit, as saying.

He added that the government aims to treat citizens, residents and visitors like customers "as this is the only way how the future can look like for a smart government".

According to the plan, by 2016 any citizen or resident will be able to use his smartphone as his UAE identity card, his credit card or his e-gate card.

The e-gate is an electronic chip card which enables UAE residents and even non-residents who usually get their travel visa on arrival to exit and enter the country at border controls at the airport without showing their passport.

"In two years, any resident in the UAE will be able to interact with the UAE government 24 hours a day through his smart device," said Hamad Al-Mansouri, deputy director of the Gulf state's telecommunication regulatory authority.

At the summit, it was also announced that the UAE sheikhdom of Dubai will be the first Middle Eastern city to have its street views added to the online mapping service of Google.

According to a comparative study launched at the summit by global consultancy Accenture, Singapore, Norway and the UAE rank first, second and third respectively among 10 countries in their use of "digital government".

Earlier in the week, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum launched at the summit the testing phase of a mini-drone airmail service designed to deliver documents and UAE identity cards to citizens.

(Posted on 13-02-2014)