Coronavirus boosting digital transformation in the GCC.

The coronavirus pandemic has “put a lot of fire” under governments who previously failed to prioritise digital transformation, according to Khaled W Jaouni, managing director – international (EMEA & APAC) for Accela.

However, he has stressed that this does not apply to governments in the GCC region, which he described as “pioneers” and “trailblazers” when it comes to citizen engagement achieved through the early adoption of digital technologies.

Jaouni told Arabian Business: “It varies from country to country but I can say, by and large, the coronavirus has really exposed a massive disparity between cities and governments globally, really in how they were able to handle everything.

“It’s put a lot of fire under the ones that did not prioritise digital transformation.

“It’s not only from dealing with the Covid regulation, but it’s the ability that after a lockdown some were caught flat-footed and flustered for months, not even being able to serve their citizens properly, and others, which include many governments in the GCC, literally flicked on the switch and the next day they’re running businesses as usual.”

The California-based government software company, which has its regional hub in Dubai, works with 2,200 government agencies across the world, including bodies in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

“I think as mobile telephones have transformed day to day life, one thing that happens is the citizen’s voice is heard immediately, through social media or anything else. Also there’s a certain level of expectation; if you’re shopping on Amazon and you expect something to get done within five or six minutes, that’s now the expectation from government,” said Jaouni.

He added: “It might not be vocalised, but internally this is what it is and you have a number of governments here in the GCC that have put mandates that says every single service that they provide, applying for that digitally and completing it, has to be done within six minutes, no matter what it is.”

Coping with Coronavirus in the GCC

In the most recent report from the World Bank on ease of doing business, the UAE was position highest in the Middle East at 11th globally, while Saudi Arabia ranked 92, Bahrain 62 and Kuwait 97.

Jaouni said: “GCC governments, by and large, tend to have a very strong mandate to really try to improve economic prosperity and actually the quality of life of residents and citizens that are living there.”

The source of the article from Arabian Business :

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