In line with directives by its senior leadership, Bahrain’s digital Government strategy is committed to the following principles:
The Government of Bahrain considers access to digital government services a public right and requires government entities to ensure digital inclusion. Factors to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, access, affordability, age, bandwidth, content, disability, education, gender, migration, location, mobile, speed, and service usage.
The Government of Bahrain is focused on eradicating the digital divide by providing constituents the necessary ICT training, access to computer hardware, software, affordable Internet access, and user support.
Digital Inclusion initiatives in Kingdom of Bahrain are based on three components:
Since 2007, Bahrain has successfully raised awareness of eGovernment services among its constituents through a well laid out, clear and targeted communication strategy. Its campaigns have employed a mix of traditional and non-conventional media, including features to collect end-user feedback. Moreover, each Government entity engages with its constituents to identify who can and cannot use its digital services, and the factors that limit the service uptake. Appropriate solutions are then designed to overcome these challenges.
Initiatives undertaken during the 2018-2022 strategy period include:
1. Awareness & marketing of eGovernment services
Marketing campaigns vary based on the nature of the services being promoted and their audiences. A range of mediums and methodologies ensure that users are aware of the services offered by the Information & eGovernment Authority. Depending on the marketing strategy, tactics may include digital marketing (social media posts, paid social media advertisements, paid online ads placed on local news agencies and international websites), targeted email and SMS marketing, booklets, flyers, roadshows, and more.
2. Making eGovernment services more relevant
Analyzing more than 400 electronic services, we identified the top 25 that witnessed spikes in service utilization and usage. More information can be found in Channel Statistics.
3. Improving digital channels and introducing advanced electronic kiosks at more locations
At present, the Government delivers its services through the National Portal as well as through entity portals, mobile apps, electronic service centres, the National Contact Center and next generation eGovernment kiosks. Click here to view usage statistics of eGovernment channels.
The Government is revamping its National Portal to make the portal more secure, user friendly, enable personalized experience and responsive. State of the Art self-service eGovernment kiosks are installed in major locations with finger print biometric system to verify user’s identity, touch screens, security cameras, credit and debit card readers and a printer for receipts.
The Government is continually redesigning its service delivery along a Digital First principle which streamlines the user journey through the effective use of digital technologies.
Some of these initiatives are listed below:
The Sijilat System (www.sijilat.bh) has transformed the way business is done in Bahrain, allowing investors to apply for, modify, and renew their Commercial Registrations (trade licenses) electronically. The portal also allows businesses to making inquiries and follow up on procedures concerning other entities without the need to physically visit them, saving time and energy. Anyone requiring assistance with Sijilat may visit a physical service centres for guidance.
Individuals requiring financial support from the Ministry of Labour & Social Development can make and follow up on requests easily through the national portal. The system is integrated with other relevant eGovernment systems for greater efficiency and quicker service delivery.
In line with the 'Digital First principle,' the Government of Bahrain is revamping several core public services from the ground up to ensure digital delivery.
These include, but are not limited to:
Enhancing service excellence through service centres:
Government service centres are being evaluated and rewarded with higher grades based on their ability to deliver digital services. Digital infrastructure and solutions enable customers to access the Government’s online services even if they do not own a device at home and/or are unable to access the Internet due to lack of skill or an Internet disruption. Government service centres are encouraged to reduce the amount of time customers spend at their branches and are recognised for providing end-to-end digital services. Among the innovations introduced are procedures that do not require customers to carry records already provided to the government during their first visit. In view of the pandemic, the centres also provide contactless services.
In line with Government Plan 2019-2022 (PDF, 3,880KB, 22 Pages, Arabic only), the Government of Bahrain is promoting the use of digital technologies to enhance its service delivery and internal operations. Government is actively considering the use of nation-wide digital identity schemes that enable the development of new products and services, while reducing operational costs.
As the Kingdom digitally empowers its government and economy, it has shifted its focus towards advanced nation-wide digital identity and management initiatives with a greater emphasis on people, process, technology and governance. Among these initiatives are:
The NEA is an aggregation of models and meta-models, governance and compliance mechanisms, technology standards, and guidelines put together to implement Enterprise Architecture (EA) across several government entities.
Sijilat is a virtual one-stop solution, available through multiple channels. It offers an integrated 'Whole of Government' service where users, citizens, investors, and Commercial Registration (trade license) applicants and holders, as well as professional bodies, can apply, update, renew, and terminate multiple licenses concurrently through a single streamlined form. Sijilat represents a transformational change in mindset, delivering innovative, pro-enterprise, and customer-centric licensing solutions. This is done through extensive collaboration between government organisations, fostering a pro-enterprise environment with high quality customer service.
The National Gateway Infrastructure offers a unified electronic platform that integrates government systems based on consistent standards and policies. This improves eServices delivery by allowing each government entity to utilise any service offered by another entity. The National Gateway Infrastructure ensures quality and efficiency by better integrating and managing services, allowing for smoother correspondence, while also minimising the need for upgrades and maintenance.
Fingerprint (biometric) authentication allows employers to book medical check-ups online, reschedule and/or view appointment statuses, and obtain the results. The system also enables private health care institutions to view and confirm the attendance of individuals undergoing pre-employment check-ups and to enter the results of expatriates.
NotifyMe allows citizens, residents, and GCC citizens to register or update their contact details to receive the latest government notifications. This brings the Government closer to its constituents, keeping them securely and privately informed of their transactions. The service significantly reduces delivery times, eliminates associated paperwork and logistics, and lowers expenses and administrative work.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has an authorized Digital Identity Solution for its constituents. The Bahrain Digital Identity Platform, eKey, is the electronic equivalent of an individual's identity, enabling them to access information or avail of services online.
The eKey is a single sign-in unified platform for all eServices that require authentication. Users are only required to enter one authentication to access a pool of eGovernment Services & Channels, while ensuring the highest level of security, including identity verification.
The latest eGovernment Strategy is built on a direction presented by the Crown Prince and the Supreme Council to extend eKey utilization to Financial and Private Sector organizations. The next phase of the digital identity was already established by providing a Know Your Customer Platform called eKYC.
The eKey is the backbone of the National eKYC Platform, a pioneering initiative in the region targeting retail banks, financial service providers, and money exchange networks supervised by the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The Government of Bahrain is pioneering the use of business intelligence and technology to better serve citizens. It signed an agreement with global Cloud computing leader, Amazon Web Services (AWS), to establish data centres that will transform the Kingdom into a regional 'Big Data' hub. The agreement’s initiatives include:
The Government recognises the importance of making data accessible and usable by the public, to offer greater insights and support more informed decision-making. While respecting privacy requirements, the Government of Bahrain will ensure that this data is available to drive citizen legislation, policies, and processes. The Bahrain Open Data Portal aims to promote transparency and help the business community create innovative services and business models.
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s leadership, represented by the Cabinet and Supreme Council, emphasized the importance of having government entities integrate and design eServices around the needs of constituents, including citizens, business owners, residents, and visitors. Concerted efforts have been made to identify and select services that will be redesigned and converted to eServices.
The aforementioned strategic initiatives are intended to improve the delivery of public services, ensuring that constituents need only to sign in once to access what they need.
All Government services and systems follow this principle; and one of the most important examples is the ID Card project. The new ID card will also be considered a health card, an election card, a labor card, an electronic payment card (ePurse), and a travel document, allowing cardholders to pass through electronic border control gates at Bahrain International Airport. This will support other implementations, which depend on verification of users’ identities through the use of stored fingerprint data.
Other examples of National Single Window Initiatives, such as Sijilat (business licensing system), Ofoq (Customs system), Building Permits System (Benayat) , and National Health Information System (ISEHA) also use the single sign-in principle.
The Kingdom of Bahrain considers multiple sources and platforms when envisioning the future of the Digital Government. For example:
Within the ICT sector, experimentation and regulatory sandboxes using digital technologies are considered a part of the mandates of various government tasks forces, which have the freedom to implement and test any solutions before regulations are formalized.
There are clear strategic objectives and KPIs for the National eGovernment Strategy that are measured and monitored by multiple stakeholders. The main part of monitoring comes from the Prime Minister’s Office in which all objectives and KPIs of the strategy are monitored instantly using internal tools to ensure that high priority initiatives are completed promptly and to accelerate any obstacles that might be faced by the entities. KPIs and objectives are also monitored by the Information and eGovernment Authority’s Strategic Planning and Projects Directorate, which is tasked with measuring KPIs and objectives and getting updates concerning strategic initiatives from different directorates and departments. This is a constant process, completed weekly to guarantee a seamless implementation of the initiatives and to escalate any risks and issues immediately to avoid delays. It also ensures there is a structured process to review and update the national strategy (yearly review and ongoing assessment of pilot projects) so that there is alignment with emerging trends, new priorities in sector strategies, and Bahrain's progress.
Moreover, the strategy is governed by different managerial committees, including the Executive Committee, chaired by HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister; the Ministerial Committee for Information Technology and Communication (MCICT); the Ministerial Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs and Fiscal Balance; and the Information and Communication Governance Committee (ICTGC), led by CE of Information & eGovernment Authority.
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Content Last Updated: 31 Aug, 2023
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