eGovernment and Integration Projects Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker

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Introduction

In order to meet the objectives of the eGovernment, and achieve integration and coordination among all government ministries and entities in Bahrain, a number of strategic projects and initiatives had to be implemented according to the eGovernment strategy (PDF, 6.9MB, 20 pages). Other projects and initiatives were later added when the need for them emerged in the course of implementing the eGovernment strategy. eGovernment Authority implemented a number of projects on the national level. The projects contribute to standardising the eGovernment procedures, and increasing the coordination among various entities, as well as linking them to one network. They also help provide the best services and programmes at the highest levels of quality, efficiency and security. Below is a list of these projects and a summary of each.

Bahrain National Enterprise Architecture Framework (NEAF)

The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) launched the Bahrain National Enterprise Architecture Framework (NEAF) which aims at shaping a strategic framework, establishing a uniformed infrastructure, databases, policies, standards and information systems across all ministries and government agencies placed under the same banner, and streamlining procedures and gaining easy access to services and avoiding duplication of efforts, and thereby reducing the global cost to implement the ITC projects with a core focus on quality assurance and electronic systems in the government sector through a uniform framework for project management and aligning such services to various channels such as eGovernment Portal, Mobile Gateway, and National Contact Center.

The Project has contributed in enhancing levels of performance and efficiency of the ITC departments in several ministries and government agencies, accelerating the exchange of information between government entities, streamlining and eliminating regulatory red tape barriers, reducing the time lag to carry out several government transactions.

Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the first countries in the region to carry out such pioneering project that has provided the essential infrastructure, with a core focus on gaining access to create an integrated eGovernment platform.

The project has been carried out through several phases: the first phase revolves around undertaking a survey on the current situation of all e-projects across ministries and government entities, whereas the second phase focuses on the business process re-engineering in such e-projects aimed at devising appropriate solutions.

The electronic government projects cover several areas including government project applications, security and privacy systems, data and information systems, management process systems, IT systems, and then proceeding towards effective implementation phase. The project has received considerable support among ITC in continuation of the approach taken at the project, and achieving intended outcomes, the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT) approved to establish eGovernance restructuring in Bahrain through a council in which the relevant ministries, stakeholders, and executive structure are involved to ensure the successful outcomes of IT projects across ministries and government entities.

The National Enterprise Architecture Framework (NEAF) gained an exceptional international recognition by winning the UNPSAs for the best performance in eGovernment under the category of “Advances Government Knowledge Management” and received the eWorld Forum Award for the Best Innovative Initiative in eGovernment.

The Entrepreneurship Development Program (Technopreneur Bahrain)

The Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP), branded as “Technopreneur Bahrain” was established to ameliorate the entrepreneurial, technical, and managerial skills of Bahraini youth by providing them an opportunity to develop potential business development opportunities in the field of ICT and in particular in eGovernment.

Technopreneur Bahrain is a holistic development program jointly initiated by the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) and Bahrain Development Bank with the aim to support and facilitate the growth of the ICT sector in Bahrain.

The project plays a significant role in contributing to increase innovation and entrepreneurship spirit in the Kingdom of Bahrain and deliver cutting edge eGovernment applications by Small Medium Enterprises (SME)/entrepreneurs for the benefit of the public.

For the following reasons, the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) has taken the initiative to perform this project:

  • It is expected that there would be a considerable demand for ICT related business in Bahrain driven by the eGovernment initiatives and subsequent investment in ICT related solutions.
  • There is a lack of supply of entrepreneurial skills in ICT sector especially in the eGovernment field.

EDP program could be one of the revenue generation projects that is part of self-sustainability program in iGA which aims at the following:

  • Provide advisory Services to startups and entrepreneurs (coaching & mentorship programs)
  • Established partnerships with organizations to support and select  ICT related startups and entrepreneurs ideas for funding
  • Provide Incubation Services (location, offices, internet availability and other)
  • Provide opportunity to the interested Bahrainis startups within the ICT sectors

Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) is the reliable partner who supported iGA in executing the program, and responsible for providing the following services:

  • Facilitate the registration process for the beneficiaries
  • Review the beneficiary applications for the program
  • Undertake initial short listing of beneficiaries based on defined criteria’s
  • Assess the short listed beneficiaries based on technical skills & capabilities, entrepreneurial skills, community involvement, passion & dedication for business
  • Recommend selected beneficiaries to the selection committee for final approval
  • Inform candidates upon selection to the program
  • Undertake monthly and quarterly meetings to assess the status of the beneficiaries
  • Provide regular reporting to iGA on the status of beneficiaries.
  • Provide workspace and facilities as agreed upon
  • Provide data and connectivity facilities
  • Provide requisite software required by beneficiaries
  • Provide advisory and mentorship services
  • Undertake knowledge sharing sessions
  • Provide other administration services

As most of the activities of this project are performed by the partner, the iGA resources allocated for this project would mainly be involved as part of the selection committee and for monitoring and evaluating the beneficiary’s performance based on periodic reports received from BDB, as well as participation in mentorship program in the Capacity Building stage. 

eMeeting++ System

The eMeeting++ System was introduced as a technical solution that replaces the board pack utilized in traditional meetings with a user-friendly cloud-based application that allows users to receive meeting updates and agendas along with relevant files on their Smart Devices.

Alternatively, the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) is currently working towards making it a cloud-based system to support the concept of shared services within the government. The cloud-base introduces a ‘Session Recoding’ feature in addition to the below features; taking into consideration data security and protection in transmitting between various components - in a safe, secure manner.

The main features of the eMeeting++ system comprises of:

  • Review the information pack for upcoming meetings as well as easily view or add annotations
  • Check the schedule of the next meeting
  • Access past meetings’ information packs
  • Add shared and private notes
  • Access documents anywhere
  • Secure information, even in the event of misplacing the directors’ iPads
  • Add annotations in the meeting files using freehand drawings, numerous shapes or sticky notes
  • Instant messaging with other meeting attendees
  • Completely or Arabized? – offering layout from right-to-left so as to suit the Arabic language
  • Anonymous voting
  • Accessible on varied mobile platforms; such as iOS and Android

The eMeeting++ has positively contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of government entities’ meetings. Presently, it is being utilized by a number of governmental organizations and built on an outstanding reputation as well as experience through these entities. The system was first introduced to the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT) and is currently being managed by the committee and Tender Board. It assists both bodies to discard the past handled piles of papers in addition to the printing and collation process which are inclined to be costly and prone to error.

Additionally, the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs began to utilize the system which has undoubtedly eased the communication amongst meeting attendees and further enhanced the efficiency allowing remote participation and mobility that helped generate speedier decision-making. Also, the Ministerial Committees are utilizing the system - showcasing great satisfaction with it due to its positive contribution on the efficiency and effectiveness of their meetings. The eMeeting++ is being operated by several governmental entities, one of which being the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. 

eGA has entered a partnership for the cloud-based infrastructure with a technical partner to be installed and hosted within the Central Informatics Organization which will manage the daily support of operations and carry the responsibility of feature enhancements, system design, developments, testing and deployment of the complete the system. The eMeeting++ System is one of the revenue generation projects that is part of the self-sustainability programs which aim to offer this system to every governmental body across the Kingdom in order to benefit from the features it delivers and in return generate revenue for the eGovernment Authority. 

Integrated Workflow Management System "Zajel"

The Integrated Workflow Management System "Zajel" is one of the key innovative projects aims at creating a secured environment for eCommunication to ensure that both the executive and legislative authorities are linked to each other with a core focus on enhancing efficiency of executive, legislative and supervisory operations assigned to such entities. Zajel will automate and speed up the decision making process across several national entities with a view to developing aspects of information transfer, facilitating channels of communication within a safer information environment, maintaining security and confidentiality of shared information, as well as adding swiftness and effectiveness of such correspondences.

The project is intended to improve automation of information exchange among national entities by networking them electronically, provide a simplified and integrated interface, offer a secure email environment, as Zajel contains several layers of protection that ensure the confidentiality of correspondence according to user groups and nature  of documents sent, make it possible to send/receive correspondence in real time, save information, and search it through advanced archiving systems, make it possible to receive notifications of process progress and/or delays, Increase efficiency of work processes and Reduce administrative costs and paperwork.

In its first stage, the system will cover nine entities – The Royal Court, the Court of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister, the Office of Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Ministry of Shura & Representative Councils Affairs, Legislation & Legal Jurisprudence Authority, Shura Council and Representative Council.

Documentation cycle between the legislative and executive authorities is seen as one of the most difficult processes to streamline considering the number of entities involved. Automation will make it easier to add more processes in the future, to be introduced in the second stage. The first stage has been indeed launched.

The e-messaging national project (Zajel) has recently  won  the United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) 2012  for the Integrated Workflow Management System (IWMS) under the category ‘’ of ‘’Advances Government Knowledge Management’’.

National Gateway Infrastructure

National Gateway Infrastructure aims to create a unified electronic platform that facilitates electronic integration of government systems according to consistent standards and policies to improve eServices delivery so that each government entity can utilize any service offered by another entity.

This project will develop and launch eServices in record times by linking and making accessible electronic systems and applications of all government entities, as well as providing integrated eGovernment services to nationals, expatriates and other sectors through a single electronic platform using the four different service delivery channels such as eGovernment Portal, Mobile Gateway, Public Service Centers, e-Kiosks and the National Contact Center.

This project will improve the quality and efficiency of eServices by integrating and managing such services better, in addition to the smooth exchange of correspondences, saving efforts and costs for upgrading and maintenance.

The National Authentication Framework Project (eKey system)

The eGA built the National Authentication Framework (eKey system) in order to transform the government’s approach about authenticating people’s identities, ease citizens’ access to government services, and enable the government to serve more services through eChannels.  eKey was implemented as both a web-based solution and a webservice. This allowed government entities to replace their fragmented authentication efforts with eKey on multiple channels including web, and mobile apps. By integrating eServices with eKey, users could readily access these eServices with their eKey accounts.

The authentication process of eKey account involves three levels of security: password (PIN), smartcard and biometric (fingerprint) identity verification to ensure that such transactions are carried out in a highly secured environment, particularly with the huge increase of eGovernment services.

The eKey system has also enabled Single-Sign-On on the National Portal bahrain.bh, which enable users to access all available eServices with a single login. This has contributed to the eGovernment’s vision of delivering eServices to customers effectively. The vision will be fully realized when this feature is extended to work across multiple websites, allowing users to login with eKey account, and navigate through the eServices without the need to login again, as eKey will maintain the session for all eKey-enabled eServices. A working plan is already in place with Key governmental entities to turn that vision into reality and advocate the whole of government practices within the Kingdom.

Open Data Platform Project

The Open Data Platform is an important initiative for the Kingdom of Bahrain as it aims to implement a public data hub and a strategy for open data to enable transparency and promote eParticipation. The primary objective of the Data Platform is to publish datasets from ministries and government agencies in a manipulative format, and making this data available to the public. Channels of eParticipation are enabled also to receive your constructive feedback on this platform along with your ideas on how the data can be used. 

The eGovernment Authority has identified four critical keys to success of the Open Data Platform, which are:

  • The availability of the Data
  • The credibility of the Data
  • Innovative and Creative ideas
  • The application of the Data

The Data Platform will enable the public to have a central point of access to find, download and use datasets generated by the ministries and governmental entities in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The public will benefit from the data provided in different ways, as gaining access to government data will help the public in acquiring a better understanding of how the government works.  It will also allow the general public and businesses to use the data for research, creating reports, develop web and smart phone applications and solutions based on public data. In addition to fostering innovation through the flow of data and information, providing support for new start-ups by providing all information needed in planning, and decision making based on reliable facts.

National Database Project

The National Database Project will make easier the process for ministries and government entities to obtain available information and data from other government entities by developing a central database containing the main information deployed across various government entities.

This Project offers the possibility to standardize the mechanism for the management, documentation and use of data across various government entities with a core focus on speeding up decision making.

The first stages of the first project are started.

The Commercial License System Development project (eInvestor) - The e-Investor Project

The eInvestor project was launched pursuant to the directives of H.R.H Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, The Crown Prince and the Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) which focuses on simplifying business procedures across the Kingdom by unifying the work processes among the institutions involved as outlined in vision 2030 and the National Economic Strategy 2009-2014. Accordingly, all private and public sector institutions need to unify their efforts and coordinate to improve national economy providing a favorable investment environment using latest technologies.

E-Investor Project: The e-Investor project provides an integrated system for eGovernment services related to commercial registration and licensing in Bahrain . Additionally, it supports the efforts of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in developing services of the Bahrain Investors Centre (BIC) as a single hub for providing best investor-related services in coordination with all competent government entities.

The program’s objectives include:

Creating an integrated database that contains all requirements, regulations and information related to commercial registration and licensing. This includes rules and regulations of foreign and local investment as well as commercial registration and the issuance of approvals and licenses from all government entities, registration and modification of enterprises registers and permits issue by government entities.

Meeting Requirements and terms to issue approvals and licenses from all government entities, and whereby encouraging more foreign and domestic investments into Bahrain and access through it other markets.

The first stage of the e-Investor has been finalized and the system infrastructure will be processed and 15 licenses will be granted in relation to Bahrain’s investment procedures .the second phase will be completed within the upcoming months.

LG CNS has been chosen and granted for the tender as it is one of the leading international companies specialized in various technological solutions and has a wide experience in executing government technical projects in various countries worldwide.

Bahrain Tender Board e-Tendering System

The e-Tendering System developed by the Bahrain in cooperation with the eGovernment Authority, aims to improve the government performance, streamline the procedures pertaining to tenders and government procurement.

The e-tendering system enables purchasing entities from the government sector in its first phase to prepare the purchase order, submit tender documentations.

Also, the e-tendering system allows suppliers and contractors from the private sector to purchase tender documentations through the said system and the procedures will be completed as usual.

The second stage of the e-tendering system will be implemented which shall cover h covers the full cycle of the eTendering process - starting from submitting applications of offers, announcing tender invitations for review of the willing bidders to accepting and depositing offers submitted by bidders with confidentiality and protection.

This will later be followed by opening tenders in thorough transparency and clear evaluation of the offers, and finally announcing the awarded company, all being done online.

The e-Tendering System contains information on laws, rules, regulations and tender-related data, in addition to news and activities.

'The portal also provides features of live broadcast for the opening tenders.

The e-tendering system will be enhancing participation in tenders and auctions, putting in place the principle of justice, increasing transparency, fostering competitiveness in Bahrain, boosting investment and stimulating economic growth.

The Tender Board provides services through various channels such as electronic website and smart devices through the design of a system containing all laws, regulations and correspondences to be downloaded from the system on a weekly basis and reducing paperwork, which resulted in saving effort and costs, and improving the Tender Board performance through the use of the best techniques, in addition to environment-friendly benefits and other gains generated from the system.

National Health Information System (I-SEHA program)

As part of the Ministry of Health’s strategy that focuses on creating a system with a core focus on improving the delivery of health services provided in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the MoH launched in collaboration with the eGovernment Authority the National Health Information System (I-SEHA program) aiming at delivering highly efficient health services by applying the best and the latest ITC systems in the health sector.

Indra Systems was commissioned to carry out the project .The project is made of advanced systems for health applications, and modern ITC infrastructure.

I-SEHA Program contributes to improve the delivery of services for patients, increase efficiency, speed of delivery in line with the best internationally recognized practices by offering clinical systems and the requisite cutting-edge ITC infrastructure, along with linking to systems in relation to finance, warehouse and human resources, in addition to coordination with other government entities to achieve integration, avoiding duplication of efforts and costs.

The project provides executives at the Ministry of Health with a reliable source of information that can be utilized to develop evidence based plans and strategies to improve the health system.

The I-SEHA program covers a full range of areas such as: electronic integration to the Central Information Organization (CIO), patient database, MoH resource database, employee account department, births and deaths, appointments, radiology, drug prescription, primary healthcare, outpatient clinics, pharmacy and distribution of drugs, billing, intensive care, laboratory, surgery and theater, and emergency etc.

The key hallmarks of the I-SEHA program are the application of the electronic unified medical record for all citizens and expatriates. The program will include comprehensive electronic medical patient data that contains the merits of the case,

In addition to treatment history and an access to patient case history and family history.

The system enables the physician speed diagnosis and makes the best decisions.

Also, the system will provide the patient medical record in electronic format to be seen by the other medical authorities that will be in charge of the patient’s treatment in any hospital of the Ministry of Health or centers, in addition to the King Hamad University Hospital, Bahrain Defense Force and private hospitals as an advanced stage of the project.

The first stage of the electronic medical record has been launched at the National Bank of Bahrain Health Center in Hidd in addition to its application in the King Hamad University Hospital provided that the next stage of the project will include the Salmaniya Medical Complex and MoH’s other hospitals and centers.

The Project’s objectives are as follows:

  • Developing efficiency of preventive and treatment services
  • Setting up a comprehensive patient medical record
  • Improving physicians’ competence
  • Reducing medical errors
  • Providing patients with treatment, medication, and healthcare
  • Increasing managerial and supervisory efficiency and competence of the Ministry of Health
  • Reducing operating expenses
  • Enabling all health departments from obtaining a single medical record of the patient to ensure the increasing productivity and smooth workflow

Other Integration Projects

The Financial Support Project

The financial support project is a government initiative to provide a monthly financial support to Bahraini citizens with limited income in the sum of a flat BD 50 allowance during 2009-2010 with an estimated budget of BD one hundred million with a core focus on helping low-income families cope with increasing living costs, providing data and accurate analyses for the relevant ministries for the eligible citizens with the financial support .over 81,480 citizens benefitted in 2009  compared to 83,013 citizens in 2010.

The Consolidated Procurement Agreement with Cisco International

In coordination with the Central Informatics Organization (CIO) and the Tender Board, the eGovernment Authority (eGA) supervised the CISCO Products Unified Purchasing Agreement between the government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Cisco.

This is the first agreement of its kind to be signed by Cisco International with the government sector, and it is hoped that it will be a model for future agreements of the Company with other governments.

The agreement aims to save millions of Bahraini Dinars per annum for the Government of Bahrain by unifying the purchasing of frequent goods which are an integral part of government operations. According to the agreement, the Government will enjoy a considerable discount, and make a huge saving.

The Government will also save the time and effort required for running tenders and seeking technical specifications, a process that lasts on the average for 6-12 months each time in each purchase order. Additionally, many technical and managerial staff members are now linked to the purchasing process, and government entities make hundreds of such purchases on a yearly basis, and therefore this agreement will save millions of Bahraini Dinars of the public funds every year.

National Portal Infrastructure Project

With a view to accommodating the huge increase in the number of users, and the total increased volume of transactions carried out on the eGovernment Portal, the eGovernment Authority implemented the improved infrastructure for the National Portal.

The new infrastructure ensures a higher capacity of visitors equals to tenfold of the previous website, offers a single integrated portal for the public and avails all government eServices to all segments of the society.

The launch of the new National Portal Infrastructure project was a milestone in preparing the eGovernment Portal for the strategic projects that the eGovernment Authority is implementing to ensure better delivery of services for the public. This step has also improved the security level of the electronic exchange between the Government and citizens while increasing the browsing speed and responsiveness with visitors to gain access to any information on the website.

National Payment Aggregator Project

With the increasing number of eServices offered by the eGovernment Authority and various ministries and government entities through the multiple electronic channels and due to the increasing number of transactions and the resulting amount of money collected, the e-payments have faced several challenges, including lack of financial accountability, absence of a consolidated reporting mechanism due to the higher number of services and channels, lack of direct means for settlement of customer complaints, and addressing the outstanding issues.

These are a number of pressing concerns that pushed the eGA to create a new payment mechanism by developing the National Payment Aggregator which offers a full range of key benefits for the relevant beneficiary entities ensures the efficiency of payments and transactions and provides a central reliable and trusted mechanism for the settlement of disputes pertaining to transactions.

Smart Card (ID Card)

The ID Card Project is one of a series of flagship projects initiated by the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) that will bring about substantial developments in the government performance. The ID card project is a Bahraini aspiration towards a better future for the Kingdom and aims to provide better tools for procuring electronic government services which are available and provided to citizens. These services are provided so that citizens may complete their transactions in the fastest and easiest manner possible while adhering to the highest standards of security and privacy.

The smartcard , which has been named the ID card, combines three current cards into one:

  • The immigration ID card issue by the General Directorate for Passports, Nationality and Residence (GDNPR)
  • The driving license issued by the General Directorate for Traffic (GDT)
  • The Central Population Registry (CPR) card issued by the CIO

The new ID card will also be considered a health card, an election card, a labor card, an electronic payment card (e-Purse) and a travel document to allow cardholder to pass through the electronic border control gates. This will be in addition to other implementations which depend on the verifications of the users’ identity through the use of the cardholders stored fingerprint data.

Electronic Signature

The traditional manual signature of documents helps to identify the signatory and the digital or electronic signature is used for identification purposes if it is supported by coding techniques such as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and its results are more effective than the manual signature.

The digital signature can be used to identify the sender of the message or the the e-signatory .in order to ensure that the message content or the document is not altered , it is easy to transfer the e-signature but it is difficult to be forfeited ,and the date and time can be electronically documented.

Cloud Computing Initiatives

The Information & eGovernment Authority made several initiatives in cloud computing due to its full awareness of its significance .initiatives can be partly reflected in the previous strategy of the eGovernment along with the current strategy to be implemented .

The underway initiatives in cloud computing are as follows:

National Portal Interface Project, The Single Sign-On Project to Access Government Systems, Project Management Tools for Government entities and National Payment Aggregator.


Page Last Updated: 11 Sep, 2017