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Bahrain Launches Telecommunications, ICT, and Digital Economy Sector Strategy (2022-2026)

January 14, 2022
technology

Manama, Jan. 13 (BNA): Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed affirmed that the 2022-2026 Telecommunications, ICT, and Digital Economy Sector Strategy is a major pillar in the Economic Recovery Plan and will contribute towards achieving the Kingdom’s comprehensive economic growth and development.

The minister explained that the Economic Recovery Plan mandates the development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in the Kingdom. He affirmed that the sector’s development is in line with various initiatives put forth to achieve the Kingdom’s comprehensive development goals, led by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

He added that the ICT sector continues to receive support from the Government, headed by HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, as part of the overall Bahrain Economic Vision 2030.

The Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications listed the main objectives of the 2022-2026 Telecommunications, ICT, and Digital Economy Sector Strategy. He explained that the strategic goals focus on improving the Kingdom’s overall global position in the e-Participation index of the UN eGovernment Survey. The Minister added that the strategy will also work towards establishing a world-class digital infrastructure, by developing cybersecurity standards, attracting big-tech companies, and becoming a regional digital innovation hub.

Kamal bin Ahmed affirmed that the newly launched ICT and Digital Economy Strategy will pave the way to increase the efficiency of government services through e-transformation, digitising documents, moving to e-payments, and expanding the use of Artificial Intelligence, all while strengthening public private partnerships. He highlighted the main pillars of the strategy which include developing the telecommunications infrastructure, supporting digital economy, enhancing e-governance, and developing digital capacity.

The minister said that there are set key performance indicators, to measure the success of the implementation of the strategy by 2026. He explained that the Kingdom aims to increase the number of ICT sector start-ups by 20 percent, automate an additional 200 government services, increase national employment in the sector by 35 percent, and train at least 20,000 citizens on cybersecurity.

For his part, the CE of the Information and e-Government Authority (iGA), Mohamed Ali AlQaed, explained the key role iGA plays in achieving the objectives of the launched strategy.

AlQaed affirmed that the iGA will work towards enhancing e-governance through different initiatives.

He detailed the entity’s plans to implement digitisation initiatives, develop e-key services, launch unified apps, develop data portals, improve public E-Systems and adopt the latest technologies in conducting census surveys.

He also explained how the iGA will aid in supporting the digital economy move through developing digitisation policies.

Shaikh Salman bin Mohamed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the CEO of the National Cybersecurity Centre, affirmed the centre’s commitment towards attaining the goals of the ICT Strategy.

Shaikh Salman explained the centre’s role in reinforcing cyber security to create safe platforms for e-governance.

He said that the centre will be launching the National Strategy for Cybersecurity, to provide the necessary tools and thrusts to achieve the set goals related to cyber security and data protection.

Speaking during the conference, the CE of the Labour Fund (Tamkeen), Hussain Mohammed Rajab, affirmed the importance of capacity building and investing in the human capital to arrive at the objectives of the Strategy.

He said that Tamkeen will continue to support opportunities to upskill Bahraini nationals in the field through the launch of specialised programs, developing partnerships with the private sector, and promoting research and innovation, while introducing new related concepts in existing curricula and increasing the number of graduates in the field.

Nibras Mohammed Ali Talib, the Assistant Undersecretary for Commercial Registration and Companies, at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, explained the role of digitisation in overall economic development.

He focused on the Ministry’s launched National Electronic Trade Strategy in 2019, which includes several initiatives to develop and support the sector.

Talib explained that the strategy aims to make the Kingdom a regional electronic trade hub.

He listed several initiatives that were launched including the electronic mall and the introduction of the e-Marketplace in the commercial activity registration system.

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