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Bahrain eGovernment Programme

Looking Beyond the Obvious

July 2009

eGovernment Authority
Euro Tower, 10th Floor,
P.O. Box 75533
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Phone:+973 17 388 337
Fax. +973 17388338
Table of Contents
1 Introduction ................................................................................................................4
2 Our Achievements: Looking beyond the Obvious .......................................6
2.1 The national portal...........................................................................................6
2.2 Over 90 Vital services online .......................................................................6
2.3 Mobile channel: .................................................................................................7
2.4 Common Service Centres & Kiosks ..........................................................8
2.5 National Contact Centre ................................................................................9
3 Our Differentiators (Unique projects) ............................................................10
3.1 Customer Charter...........................................................................................10
3.2 Marketing & Awareness ...............................................................................12
3.3 Customer Survey ............................................................................................15
3.4 eParticipation ...................................................................................................17
3.5 Capacity Building ............................................................................................18
3.6 Online financial support ...............................................................................20
3.7 eGovernment Excellence Awards Programme ....................................22
3.8 Enterprise Architecture ................................................................................24
3.9 Smart card ........................................................................................................26
3.10 eGATE .............................................................................................................28
4 Key statistics ............................................................................................................29
5 Contact Details ........................................................................................................30

The Kingdom of Bahrain appreciates the importance of eGovernment and has therefore,
undertaken a comprehensive programme to implement eGovernment in a phased manner.
The impetus of the Kingdom on leveraging ICT has resulted in a high degree of intra-
ministerial computerization and a superior ICT infrastructure. However, The Kingdom
focuses on service delivery to its citizens in order to optimally utilize the infrastructure that
has been created, and at the same time to graduate to the next level in the eGovernment
As a part of this programme, the kingdom is implementing over 200 eServices to the
citizens through various channels like the National web portal, Mobile portal, Common
Service centres, Kiosks and National Contact Centres. The strategic vision of this
programme is “Deliver Customer value through Collaborative Government”. The
eGovernment address the needs of all categories like citizens and residents, business,
government and visitors. The services are identified based on the “life cycle approach”.
The eGovernment also believes in “creating an enabling environment” for the increased
use of eServices by the customers. Therefore, we are conducting large programmes for
marketing and awareness of the services and also capacity building programmes for citizens
and government. We have initiated PC penetration programmes and low cost internet
schemes for common citizens. We also have an ICT education strategy to support an
“inclusive knowledge based society”.

This document summarizes the eGovernment strategy, along with the action plan to
implement the initiatives identified and also highlight the mile stones achieved in the last
two years of successful implementations. This document provides insights on what
differentiates Bahrain from other countries in their eGovernment strategy and

1 Introduction
The eGovernment strategy for the Kingdom of Bahrain is focussed on ensuring effective
delivery of government services to citizens, residents and businesses (customers). The
eGovernment strategy is summed up by:


The vision statement for the eGovernment strategy defines the key elements of the
eGovernment strategy.

“To be the eGovernment leader committed to provide all Government

services that are integrated and best-in-class, available to all through their
channel of choice helping Bahrain transform as the finest country in GCC to
visit, live, work and do business”

The vision of the eGovernment strategy has five key elements.

1. eGovernment Leader – The Kingdom of Bahrain aspires to maintain and improve upon
its position as a regional eGovernment leader that is committed in using leading edge
technologies to serve and provide value to its customers. It aspires to be recognized as
a leader that countries in the region look up to and learn from.

2. All Government Services – The eGovernment strategy for the Kingdom is focussed on
the provision of services to customers, and in this respect will work towards electronic
enablement of all key services (comprising over 90% of transactions today).

3. Integrated, Best-in-Class – The Kingdom will strive to increase satisfaction levels of

customers with government services by redesigning processes in a customer-centric
fashion. Services will be delivered such that customers interact with one „government‟
rather than multiple agencies. Service levels will be communicated upfront and
religiously adhered to.

4. Available to All – Given that governments do not choose their customers, the Kingdom
of Bahrain will ensure effective delivery of applicable government services to all,
irrespective of their education, nationality, age or income.

5. Channel of Choice – In order to achieve the above, the Kingdom will provide
customers multiple channels for availing government services. A „no wrong door‟ policy
that allows customers to avail a service through multiple channels will be implemented.

To achieve the above vision, we have an action plan (strategic priorities) for implementation
over the next three years. These include:

1. Channel enhancement - Implementation of four service delivery channel

enhancement projects that will eventually help in delivery of services to customers.

2. Service enablement - Implementation of thirteen agency priority projects that will

allow service enablement of key lifecycle based service requirements of customers
(chapter 3) mentioned before. Implementation of these projects is core to achieving
the eGovernment vision.

3. Key enablers - Implementation of nine core components that would support

effective implementation of the above and ensure success of the eGovernment
strategy, including timely implementation. A brief description of each of the nine key
enablers is presented below.

A snapshot of the same is provided below:


Agency eGovernment
eGovernment Common
Common National
National Mobile
BPR & Legal portal
portal service
service centre
centre contact
contact centre
centre gateway
Enterprise architecture
Capacity Building Authentication
Authentication (Single
(Single Sign
Sign on,
on, Smart
Smart card)

Services Gateway
Gateway Case
Case Management
Management Tourism
Tourism Social
Social Information
Marketing &
G2E portal
portal G2B
G2B Gateway
Gateway eProcurement
eProcurement Real
Real Estate
Education eHealth
eHealth Customs
Customs eOffice
National Data
Data Set
management Data
Data Security

Monitoring & Government

Government Data
Data Network
Data Centre

2 Our Achievements: Looking beyond the Obvious
The eGovernment programme since its inception in May 2007 has achieved many
milestones of success. Some of our achievements are provided below:

2.1 The national portal

This was commissioned on 23rd May 2007. Since then the portal is the prime source for
delivering services for eGovernment ( Some of the vital statistics of the
portal is as follows:

Vital Statistics about the National Portal:

 Launched in May 2007 with 30 services, 90 + in

May 2009, 200+ services by 2010

 Transactions worth USD 11 million since launch

 Visits - Over 15 million requests

 Over 6 minutes of average time spent per visit

 Visits from over 193 countries covering all six continents

 93% direct traffic – demonstrating very high recognition of the Portal URL.

 An increase in daily traffic of over 150% in the last two months (more than One
million hits in the last month). Use of the portal has been very high due to high
demanding services like school exam results and financial support scheme on the

 Over 50% of visitors visited the portal more than 5 times in last fortnight.

 Provision for both debit and credit card payments through the portal.

 Infrastructure upgrade for high availability – The portal infrastructure has been
upgraded to handle very high volume of traffic. We have conducted a load testing of
1000 simultaneous hits per second on the portal. The minimum time for the page
upload in peak traffic is less than 3 seconds.

2.2 Over 90 Vital services online

As a part of the strategy, we have provided over 90 key services which include the
information, interaction and transaction services to the customers. This list is growing every
day with the launch of new services. All these services are available on the national portal
as well as the respective ministry websites.

Most of our services are end to end, connecting different ministries and have been
developed after thorough process reengineering. This is based on the core principle of
service delivery – citizen centricity. We aim to provide end to end service to a customer at
the first instance itself. In this endeavor we have integrated with ministries we well as
private organizations. Some of the classic examples are provided below:

Birth certificate: The eligible user needs to apply and pay online through the national
portal for the issuance of a birth certificate for the new born. The system integrates the
hospitals with Ministry of Health, Central Informatics organization (CIO), the eGovernment
and the department of Posts. The birth certificate would be sent by post to the user.
Provision of unique national id (CPR number) is also provided along with the birth
certificate. This is issued by CIO.

Vehicle registration and renewal: This service enables a citizen to register for the
vehicle for the first time / or for renewal through the national portal. The national portal
connects to the ministry of interior (directorate of traffic), the central informatics
organization and the Private insurance provides for vehicle insurance. This service is also
integrated with the traffic contravention payments of vehicles. Therefore this is a fully
integrated service.

All our service are highly reengineered for the highest customer satisfaction and experience
with seamless integration of all involved ministries, supported by a highly available and
integrated back end systems.

2.3 Mobile channel:

The mobile channel of the Kingdom went live on the 25 th of
May 2009 with over 15 services. Currently we have 17
services on the mobile. The channel provides services to
customers over WAP, SMS and USSD. The channel will host
50 key services of various ministries by the end of 2009,
and will include payment services as well. The mobile
channel will make the reach of eGovernment far wider as
the mobile penetration in the Kingdom is more than
130%.(Figures from TRA survey 2008, Bahrain. This high mobile penetration coupled with
highly tech savvy population makes it the best reason for National SMS: 4949 Batelco, 88311 for Zain users
providing a MGovernment solution in Bahrain.

Our mGovernment has been designed to provide selected services on mobile while taking
into account the usability of the service as well as the target population using the mobile
devices. For e.g. we provide the flight information status on the mobile which is a service
more suitable on mobile than in the national portal. We provide school examination results
and graduate exam results on the mobile due to high penetration of mobile devices among
the student community. Similarly, we provide the financial support service on the mobile for

The concept behind the mobile service is “Serve on the move”.

2.4 Common Service Centres & Kiosks
The concept of common service centres is mainly founded on the principles of Inclusiveness.
Common Service Centres will be set up either on existing government premises
(government agency counters, post offices, governorates, police stations) or altogether new
locations. There will be a total of 15 Common Service Centres in the next 6 – 8 months
facilitating all portal-based services including those requiring customer‟s physical presence.
This channel will also provide services related to payment and collection along with form
distribution and submission for all government services. However, other major customers of
Common Service Centres are expected to be the physically challenged customers and also
those who require aid in accessing electronic services. For those customers who are
constrained by lack of Internet access, there will be an information help desk for their
assistance and also a self-service (or facilitated) kiosk for accessing the Internet to avail any
government service.

Desired outcomes for the Common Service Centre

project include:

• 15 Common Service Centres across the


• Customers to have access to a CSC in a span

of 2 Km anywhere in the Kingdom

• Usually it will takes few seconds to deliver the

service, but CSC is designed to have a
waiting time and not more than 10 minutes
for availing a service even if there is high

• Defined service levels for all services

• Reduction in digital divide

eGA has launched its first common service centre in May 2009. Four more centres will be
launched by the end of July 2009.

Looking at the economic perspective and demographics of Bahrain, where people are highly
literate (more than 85%), and a population with more than 40 % of the people falling in the
category of youth and a high penetration of mobile and internet, the CSCs in Bahrain is
primarily focusing on a transition period. As part of our Change Management Strategy for
the citizens, the CSCs are basically aimed at changing the mind set of those people who are
reluctant to use eservices either due to lack of internet or knowledge and awareness to
increasingly use the eServices in future.

eGA has launched its first Kiosk in May 2009 offering 5 services. The plan is to include all
payment related services and selected transactional and informational services on the

Kiosks. eGA plans to have 35 Kiosks installed in the Kingdom at various locations the end
of 2009. The concept of providing Kiosks in malls and other government centers is to reach
out to citizens where they are or they want to access government services.

2.5 National Contact Centre

The National Contact Centre will essentially provide support for all the approximately 150+
services within the next 1 year. Serving as a first point of contact for most customers
exploring different delivery channels, the call centre will provide information on all
government services with certain value added services like status checking and grievance
redressal. Taking into consideration the substantial expatriate population in Bahrain, the
contact centre will provide multi-lingual support with Arabic, English, Malayalam and Filipino
as the key languages.

Desired outcomes by implementing the National Contact Centres are:

 All government services available to maximum possible depth

 Enhance satisfaction levels of service delivery

 Service turnaround time of 3 minutes for every service

 Proactive service delivery (push services)

 Multi-lingual support for all government services

The national contact centre is currently functioning at eGA. eGA has set up a joint venture
with a private firm to have a 50 seats National contact centre. The call centre number (toll
free inside Bahrain) is 80008001. The plan is to have 20 seats by November 2009 and 50
seats by the end of December 2010.

3 Our Differentiators (Unique projects)
The eGovernment programme of Bahrain is unique in its strategy and implementation not
only by the innovative projects on the IT side but also on the enabler side. The philosophy
behind our eGovernment is “citizen centricity”. This is what makes eGovernment of Bahrain
stand out from other countries. Some of our unique initiatives in this direction are provided

3.1 Customer Charter

The eGovernment Strategy for Kingdom of Bahrain is focused on ensuring

effective delivery of government services to citizens, residents and
businesses. The eGovernment strategy can be summed up by – “Delivering
Customer Value through Collaborative Government”. The Kingdom regards
recipients of government services as „customers‟ and not „beneficiaries‟, i.e.
looking at citizens/businesses as customers with „unique needs and
requirements.‟ There are two key implications of the customer concept:

1. Customers have „choices‟ and demand „services‟

2. They demand „value for time and money‟

The eGovernment strategy has identified the customer charter as an

important enabler for strategy implementation. The customer charter
ensures customer centricity of service delivery through the development of
well-defined service levels and customer grievance redressal systems.

Further, based on the United Nation‟s recommendation we had decided to

implement customer charter across all ministries in the Kingdom.

eGA has developed a Customer Charter Framework for the ministries

and government agencies across the Kingdom to come out with service
levels through their Customer Charters. This framework consists of the general components
necessary for a charter. Moreover, it describes the importance of these components and
good practices of creating them. This approach was to enable easy understanding and
assimilation of these components and enable ministries to develop their
own charters using the framework. The following are the broad components
of the customer charter framework:
1. Vision
2. Mission
3. Defining Customers and Stakeholders
4. Defining Quality Standards and Response Timeframe (service level
5. Grievance Redressal mechanism

The framework also emphasized on Continuous Improvement model having following stages
1. Building knowledge, understanding and ownership for the Customer Charter
2. Assess current performance against the service standards in the charter
3. Identify and review examples of good practice across services
4. Identify, prioritize and implement improvements.

Apart for preparing the Customer Charter Framework, eGA has taken a lead role in advising
the ministries in developing the Charter and also implementing the same. eGA has assisted
Ministries in preparing the Customer Charters. Each Ministry has created a task team
responsible to coordinate and develop the Charter. eGA has conducted sensitization
workshops in the use of the Framework. These workshops are followed up by a regular
interaction between eGA and Task Team of the Ministry which includes activities such as
identification and classification of services and customers, development of Charter,
Reviewing the Charter, aligning of systems and processes to achieve the service levels,
establishing channels for receiving grievance, establishing grievance redressal process,
define roles & responsibilities within the Ministry for grievance redressal process.

Till date, 2 phases of developing & implementing the Customer Charters in the Ministries
have been completed successfully (Phase 2 is in the final stage – Charter Approval by the
respective authorities within the Ministry).
Customer Charters are available for (i) Ministry of Finance, (ii) Ministry of Labour, (iii)
Ministry of Education, (iv) Ministry of Health, (v) Ministry of Social Development, (vi)
National Portal, (vii) Ministry of Works, and (viii) Bahrain Defense Force - Royal Medical
10 more ministries are in the process of preparing their customer charter. The Charters are
published on their respective websites. National Portal also provides links to the Charters of
these Ministries. Customer Charters across all ministries is planned to be completed in next
one year timeframe.

All the charters are available for reference @ under the section for forms
and resources.

The real challenge of creating customer charter was not in preparing the document but
institutionalizing the process and procedures in the ministries to upkeep the service levels
promised in these charters. Focused Capacity Building measures have been initiated in each
ministry for the same.
We have formulated separate high level committees in each ministry headed by the Quality
Management teams to focus on the back end support and process streamlining /
reengineering to support the implementation of charter. A fully functional and IT enabled
grievance redressal mechanism is in place in all ministries to receive continuous feedback of
citizens about the service levels. Based on the feedbacks and periodic evaluation of the
ministry performance, the charters are revised from time to time.

3.2 Marketing & Awareness

The eGovernment of Bahrain believes in an inclusive

society. Therefore, it believes that the success of
eGovernment lies not only in creating an eGovernment
but also making the people to whom it is intended for
to use it. With this vision in mind, the eGovernment
strategy of Bahrain had envisaged a comprehensive
marketing and awareness strategy for the programme.
The key objectives envisaged are the following:
 Creating awareness about the programme
 Reduce resistance to change
 Improve customer satisfaction
 Increase take up of service through new delivery
The eGovernment is conducting comprehensive marketing and awareness programme in
order to ensure that citizens are not only kept abreast of the introduction of eServices, but
also reap the benefits in full by using the new channels more often than conventional
channels. The eGovernment authority is conducting marketing and awareness campaigns
through advertisements in print, audio and visual media and campaigns for sensitizing the
public on the eGovernment programmes. eGovernment is providing all support to various
ministries also in developing and implementing various marketing campaigns for the various
eServices. We have also engaged a marketing consultant to help us in this regard. Our
marketing strategy is provided below:

Above the line (ATL): We use the help of Mass media extensively reach out to our
customers. We have regular Radio and TV programmes aimed at various section of our
Below the line (BTL): We also conduct large campaigns like road shows, exhibitions,
banners, cutouts and advertisements through the print media.
Direct marketing: The eGovernment authority has taken up a very comprehensive
strategy of going direct to the people and communicating about the programme. We have
set up stalls in major shopping malls, conducted road shows etc for the people.

Service marketing in an integral part of the service development life cycle of the
eGovernment programme. The marketing campaign includes 6 key components, each of
which are carefully address in all our marketing and branding programmes:
 Target audience
 Channel (media mix) selection
 Message development based upon audience skills and education
 Timing
 Development/approval process
 Feedback/review

Our campaigns are targeted to the right people at the right time with the right message.
Some key examples of our focused marketing strategy are:

 eGate campaign was focused towards the immigration and emigration user and
therefore the campaign was addresses at the airports with banners about the eGate.

 The library services of the government were marketed in the public library areas,
general places where people gather etc.

 The educational services of schools like exam results were marketed among the
parents, and student community.

We have also introduced creative and innovative ideas to reach the people. We believe that
to become a Government available at the doorstep of the citizens and to make them
comfortable with our initiatives, participative learning is very important. This will give
citizens and government a perfect opportunity to interact and learn.
One of such ideas which we have tested and been very successful is the following: GCC is a
place known for the football sport. Therefore eGA arranged for a marketing campaign in the
FIFA qualifying tournaments which had more than 40,000 spectators. Our marketing
campaign for the National Portal address ( was introduced in the
tournament with dummies representing each of the website address on the football ground.
As the tournaments were telecast live in the televisions, it gathered the attention of not only
the 40,000 spectators on the ground, but also over 1 million TV viewers in Bahrain, and
GCC. Having realized the impact and the success of these innovative ideas, all GCC
countries are emulating Bahrain in this idea to propagate their eGovernment programmes.

We have been also extremely innovative in branding all the eGovernment programmes
under a common logo, theme and write ups. This has enabled a top of the mind recall of all
eGovernment initiatives.

Based on the feedback received in 2008 Customer survey, we had also introduced
campaigns in the shopping malls of Bahrain. The campaign attracted more than 35,000
people who spent more than 5 minutes with the stalls to understand the eGovernment. This
had a very high impact, because the visitors on the national portal increased more than
100% after this campaign.

We also have eCamps, road shows, and specific campaigns addressing the
different sections of the society who do not have access to internet, people
who are not aware of the programme or people who are computer

eMagazine: The Kingdom is also publishing a bimonthly eMagazine

highlighting the major eGovernment initiatives across the globe as well as
the activities happening in the Kingdom and GCC. Adjacent to public ICT
awareness and marketing, the magazine is of particular relevance to the

decision-makers in the public and private sectors as it will cover a series of articles and an
in-depth analysis of eGovernment strategies along with sharing of global best practices and
standards with the aim of tailoring the same in the regional context. eGovernment Authority
wishes to leverage this effort to strengthen the partnership between the institutions that
provide solutions for ICT and also institutions that wish to benefit from its applications.
Finally, this magazine will be a platform to market the eGovernment experience and
expertise of the region in general and Bahrain in particular. It is our hope that the
contributions in this magazine will help boosting the confidence of foreign investors
exploring business opportunities in this region.

This magazine has coverage of 10,000 copies. The magazine is published once in every two
months. The eMagazine has a website which provides online
subscription, access to previous copies through archives, online reading facility etc.

eNewsletter: eGovernment Authority is also publishing an

eNewsletter targeted at the ministries and government institutions of
the Kingdom. The objective of this news letter is to create awareness
among all government employees on the eGovernment activities. This
will aid in better support, and create an environment for change.

3.3 Customer Survey

The eGovernment strategy can be summed up by –

“Delivering Customer Value through Collaborative
Government”. The Kingdom regards recipients of
government services as „customers‟ and not „beneficiaries‟,
i.e. looking at citizens/businesses as customers with „unique
needs and requirements.‟

Bahrain‟s eGovernment Strategy has been designed with a

customer centric approach. In order to enhance customer
satisfaction, a Customer Charter and a Grievance Redressal System has been developed /
being developed for all public interfacing ministries/services. As part of the monitoring and
evaluation framework, a customer satisfaction index (CSI) and a government
transformation index (GTI) have been developed. These indices would use mechanisms
such as Feedback / suggestion, eConsultation, survey etc. Customer Survey is one of the
most effective mechanisms chosen by the Kingdom to assess customer satisfaction with
government services. eGovernment Strategy mandates comprehensive reviews to be
conducted to take corrective measures wherever satisfaction rating falls below 50% of all
customers. The Strategy has set a target to achieve an 80% customer satisfaction rate by

eGA has initiated an ambitious project to measure the customer satisfaction through field
survey of the customers – citizens, residents, businesses, visitors, government. Through a
competitive bidding process, a renowned marketing research firm specializing in conducting
field surveys has been appointed. The objective of the survey is to assess the awareness
and reach of the eGovernment programme among its customers and to determine
satisfaction of and impact on stakeholders and users of services offered by the
eGovernment programme. The primary output of the survey would be the measurement of
two key composite indices: the Customer Satisfaction Index and the Government
Transformation Index. The Customer Satisfaction Index will essentially measure the
satisfaction of the customers, who include citizens, businesses and government employees,
of the eGovernment programme. The Government Transformation Index will monitor the
impact on government as a result of eGovernment programme. Additionally the survey also
measures Channel Satisfaction Levels, which is determined based on a targeted set of
population who are registered users of the specific channels - the National Portal, the
National Contact Centre, the Common Service Centres, and
the Mobile Portal. All the surveys will be conducted twice in
a year.

eGA has defined a very structured 2 module approach for

conducting the survey by the vendor. The first module
involves qualitative in-depth interviews with key
stakeholders followed by preparation of detailed

questionnaires for survey and the second module involves quantitative survey of the
beneficiaries. The target population for each survey range from 2000 to 4000 respondents
across all the cross sections of the population.

The recent survey of May 2009 has provided the following results – key highlights:
 CSI has increased from 67% in 2008 to 85% in 2009.
 GTI has been measured as 62% in 2009.
 Awareness levels of eGovernment Services has increased from 26% in 2008 to 74% in
 Awareness levels of National Portal Address has increased
from 23% in 2008 to 80% in 2009 after the new link
 Usage of eGovernment services increased from 7% in
2008 to 40% in 2009.
 Many respondents were found to be unaware of the fact
that they are dealing with government services even
though they were using one or the other government
 We have maintained the old portal address along with the new address so that people
who are comfortable with the old address use the old one. This also has led to the
considerable increase in the number of hits.

A comparison of the satisfaction levels for the year 2007 and 2008 on various parameters
are provided below for easy reference.

One of the notable point of the survey was that, along with the official survey two other
separate entities (a Government agency and a Private News paper) had conducted
independent surveys, and all the results pointed to the same results.
90 85
80 74
70 62
50 40 2008
26 2009
10 0
CSI GTI eGovt. Awareness Usage

The survey has identified areas of improvement for eGA and the ministries.
 Citizens have mentioned that reasons for not using eGovernment are - “I don‟t know
internet or I don‟t have internet”.
 Government employees have provided feedback emphasizing on the need to provide
better infrastructure and training to them.

3.4 eParticipation

Kingdom of Bahrain has always been looking ahead for exploring

technology for reaching out to the masses. This is because of the
inherent strength of the Kingdom in terms of its people and
technology support. The Kingdom is one of the highly literate
countries in the Middle East with over 87% of literacy rate. The
Kingdom has high penetration of internet and mobile phones.

To capitalize on this advantage, the eGovernment of the Kingdom

has always been using technology at its core for eParticipation.

One of the examples in this regard was the first ever electronic
voting in Bahrain conducted in the year 2006 for Municipal and
Parliament elections. Bahrain had managed to utilise the e-voting
technology in the 1999 referendum and to a lesser degree in the
2002 elections.

Further, after the launch of the eGovernment strategy and the

formation of eGovernment Authority, it has been a mandate for
the Kingdom to utilize the available technology options for
eParticipation. The National Portal has the facility for live chats and blogs with the Deputy
Prime Minister, the Minister for Information technology and the CEO of the eGA.

Bahrain is the first nation in GCC to have an eParticipation policy and guidelines for
ministries, All the Ministries are in the process of implementing the eParticipation policy and
also implementing various tools like Blogs, Live chats, discussion
forums etc for participation in their websites.

eGovernment Authority has also been keen to represent itself in

social and community websites to increase the spread and reach
of its presence as well as being open to self criticisms for
improving upon the suggestions by the Public. eGovernment
Authority has a forum / group open to Public in the social
community website named “FaceBook”.

3.5 Capacity Building

The focus of the eGovernment strategy is on service, service levels and sustainability
„projectization‟ and not on software and hardware. Capacity building seeks to address the
skill gaps in the current system and people. Capacity building in the context of this strategy,
refers to the need to adjust policies and regulations, to strengthen institutions, to modify
working procedures and coordination mechanisms, to increase the skills and qualifications of
people, to change value systems and attitudes in a way that meets the demands and
prerequisites of implementing the eGovernment strategy of the Kingdom.

The eGovernment authority has undertaken massive Kingdom wide capacity building
initiatives both at the ministry level as well as for the citizens.

The Ministry wide initiatives target the employees thereby enhancing their capabilities to
build and operate a sustainable eGovernment. eGA had conducted a Training need analysis
in all the ministries and have come out with the consolidated list of training requirements
for sustaining eGovernment. The various capacity building initiatives for the government
employees include the following:

1. eGovernment awareness programmes

2. Basic computer literacy for all employees with certification like ICDL
3. Customer care training for front office staff and common service centres
4. Project management training for selected staff in all ministries
5. Business Process Reengineering training
5. Specific IT skills for the IT people in all ministries
6. Leadership training for directors and above to ably lead the eGovernment programmes.

eGA has tied up with multinational vendors across the globe for providing the training. It
has also adopted various innovative methods of training to reach the entire Bahrain
government employees. It has adopted Training of Trainer (ToT), eLearning, micro-learning
etc. methodologies to train the employees. Till date it has conducted the TNA for the entire
Bahrain government employees (~35,000nos.) and had conducted various training. The
plan for 2009-2010 is provided below:

Sl Training type 2009 2010

1 eGovernment general Awareness All government All government
employees employees
2 eGovernment Induction courses 600employees 1200 employees
3 Computer Literacy 485 2015
4 Leadership training 100 200
5 Customer care 150 200
6 Project Management 100 100
7 IT skills As per As per

requirements requirements
8 BPR training As per As per
requirements requirements
9 Micro learning 25 125
10 eLearning 10,000 10,000

PC penetration programme
eGovernment of the Kingdom also believes that better services uptake is possible only
through enabling more and more people to use the same. Therefore, the eGovernment
programme is also planning to provide low cost PCs and internet connection to the eligible
people in the Kingdom. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has proposed a scheme for the
government employees of Bahrain to purchase PC for personal use at the subsidized rate.
The eGovernment authority has also partnered with private parties for delivering PCs to the
student communities as a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Citizens training:
eGA has tied up with Microsoft in providing basic computer education to all needy in the
Kingdom. An elaborate plan has been prepared. As per the plan 2000 citizens would be
trained in 2009 and 13000 in 2010. 700 citizens have already been trained in the year

3.6 Online financial support

The Bahrain government has always been in the forefront to assist the citizens during the
economic downturn. The government had announced a social assistance scheme for the
economically backward classes in the year 2008. The scheme provides a monthly assistance
to the eligible people after due process of verification.

The Kingdom entrusted the eGovernment Authority to completely automate the process of
applying for the scheme, selection of eligible people, publication and announcement of
eligible people and also manage the monthly assistance

The challenge of the project was the integration of multiple

databases held by various ministries like Social
development, Central Informatics Authority, General
Organization for Social Insurance, Pension Funds
Commission, Commerce and Industry etc.

The objectives of providing this service online are the


1. Providing complete transparency for the people

2. Easy and 24X7 access channels for people to submit applications and view eligibility
3. Integrate the back end application processing
4. Creating a database of eligible people for further use

The first phase of the project was completed in the year 2008, where in the people were
allowed to register online through the national portal.

The second phase of the project was recently completed in the year 2009 June. This year,
the system is being enhanced by providing the facility for appeal. The people whose
database is not updated will be provided a chance to update their social status online and
will be further verified at the back end. Eligible people from the appeal list would also
receive monthly the social benefit.

Moreover, this year the facility for checking eligibility is also available through the mobile
phones. This is made available through the WAP and SMS.

Over two million hits were registered on the online systems to check their eligibility and
submitted applications online. And over 52,000 people registered for the financial support in
just 3 days out of the eligible 80,000 people. More details are available @,, and SMS.

Compared to the previous years where more than 80,000 people used to physically stand in
long queues in the social centres to get registered this year more than 52,000 registered
online in 3 days. This was possible through the seamless integration of the back end
systems of various ministries such as Social Welfare, Commerce, Land registration, Social
Insurance Organization(SIO) and central informatics organization (CIO) along with
eGovernment. An end to end BPR had to be conducted to enable this service

3.7 eGovernment Excellence Awards Programme

It is the vision of the Government of Bahrain to be the eGovernment leader committed to

provide all government services that are integrated, best-in-class and available to all
through their channels of choice helping Bahrain transform as the finest country in GCC to
visit, live, work and do business.

The eGovernment strategy has identified

eGovernment Awards Programme as an
important enabler for strategy

Driven by that vision, eGovernment

Excellence Award is granted to
individuals and organizations leading the information and communication technology (ICT)
wave in the Kingdom of Bahrain, whilst promoting the adoption of the eGovernment
initiative. It aims to raise awareness of the government‟s vision and reward those
contributing to the development of Bahrain‟s electronic community.
The eGovernment Excellence Award program is a significant force in recognizing and
promoting excellence and creativity in the public sector. This annual awards program
highlight concrete evidence that government can work to improve quality of life for citizens
and that it deserves greater public trust. The award event is setup as a platform to
recognize and reward outstanding performance in e-government, e-service and ICT who has
brought tremendous efficiency, productivity, and transparency resulting in huge benefits for
government and non government organizations.

The awards are categorized under 3 groups:

 Government - The awards grouped under this category invite nomination from the
government ministries and organizations who are involved in the eGovernment projects
or initiatives. The awards in this category include eContent, eService, eMature, eProject,
and eEconomy.
 Business - The awards grouped under this category invite nomination from business
partners and organizations who provide business and technical solutions to the
government or promoting the development of the economic sector. The awards include
Best ICT Solution Provider and eEconomy.
 Citizens - The awards grouped under this category invite nomination from the citizens
who actively using the eGovernment Portal . The awards include
eConcept and eCitizen.

The winners of these awards are presented with awards during the Bahrain International
eGovernment Forum held annually. The programme has been successfully conducted for
last 2 years. This year, there were more than 60 nominations for the above mentioned
award categories. To uphold the highest standards of professionalism and objectivity, this
year entire registration and application process was conducted electronically to guarantee

fairness and equal opportunity for all entrants. An independent awards‟ jury comprising of
an elite group of local, regional and international experts is constituted to evaluate and
judge the entrants. This year the jury members included representatives from GCC
countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia), Institutions (Bahrain Internet Society, University of
Bahrain, Ahliya University) and Business (Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Wipro).

One of the primary objectives behind the introduction of the eGovernment award was to
motivate the ministries to participate and encourage better contribution for the
eGovernment programme. This initiative has worked a “magic wand” for improving the co-
operation of ministries.

After realizing the success of Bahrain in implementing such an initiative other GCC countries
have also decided to follow these best practises. Countries like Oman Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait has already decided to launch the eGovernment awards in their countries. Moreover,
all the GCC nations have adopted the framework of the award, its criteria, and other
systems & practise from Bahrain to emulate the same. We have also been developing more
credibility in the award system by bringing Jury from outside the kingdom and also outside
Bahrain government.

3.8 Enterprise Architecture

The eGovernment Strategy for Kingdom of

Bahrain is focused on ensuring effective
delivery of government services to citizens,
residents and businesses. To achieve the
Strategy targets, an action plan has been
identified for implementation over a period
of 3 years ending in Dec 2010. The
Strategic priorities that form a part of the
action plan are:
 Channel Enhancement –
Implementation of 4 service delivery
channel enhancement projects that
help finally deliver services to
 Service Enablement –
Implementation of projects that would allow electronic enablement of around 200
priority services across Citizen / resident Life Cycle Events, Business Life Cycle Events
and Employee Life Cycle Events
 Key Enablers – Implementation of 9 key enablers to support effective and timely
implementation of the eGovernment Strategy.

The eGovernment strategy has identified the Development of Common Standards and
Policies across all key elements of the eGovernment Architecture as an important enabler
for strategy implementation to achieve an integrated and connected government.

Kingdom of Bahrain has been the pioneers in the Middle East in building the IT
infrastructure and creating common policies and procedures for inter ministerial
communication and data transfer as early as 1980s‟. Bahrain had the first government wide
data proprietary network in 1980 and upgraded to open standard network 1996. This was
extended as a nationwide GDN backbone and all ministries in the Kingdom are now
connected in this network. We had set up our data centre in 1980 and disaster recovery site
in 1992. We had introduced the unique identity for the population i,e, Central Population
Registry (CPR) card in the early 1980s‟.

With the onset of the eGovernment strategy and implementation, eGA with the intention of
capitalizing on the already existing infrastructure has undertaken the initiative of developing
a nationwide Enterprise Architecture.

eGA has initiated an ambitious project to develop National Enterprise Architecture

Framework for the Kingdom of Bahrain. eGA has appointed a technology consulting firm
through a competitive bidding process to develop the Framework. Through this project an
Enterprise Architecture Framework will be created defining standards and policies to be

followed by all government agencies in the Kingdom. Each agency within the Kingdom will
be required to define their enterprise architecture for provisioning of eGovernment Services
and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector. This would allow
integration and collaborative government through implementation of common standards
and policies across. The adoption of enterprise architecture is also focused on increased
interoperability, better asset management, reduced risk and lower costs of procurement.
The EA framework will provide inputs to the other critical projects such as Enterprise Service
Bus and National Data Set.

As part of the project, current state (as-is) assessment has been carried out to assess the
existing infrastructure set up both hardware and software in the various ministries of the
Kingdom of Bahrain. EA Maturity Level of the various ministries has been assessed based on
the As-Is assessment. The target (to-be) architecture is being designed. Once the
Enterprise Architecture Framework is designed, a migration path will be planned for each
Ministry for closing the gaps. Migration Path will define the step-by-step process for moving
from the current architecture to the envisioned architecture. The project will also define the
governance structures and organizational and institutional arrangements for ensuring
compliance to enterprise architecture. The project includes capacity building element –
training for about 100 trainers drawn from ministries. The trainers will be trained on Bahrain
Enterprise Architecture, the implementation plan, implementation guide and on the
assessment methodology and the monitoring and evaluation framework.

The project was initiated in Dec 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in one year‟s time.

3.9 Smart card

The Kingdom of Bahrain is issuing smart

card based identity card for all residents in
Bahrain. This card acts as a primary
identification and also other features
embedded in the card make it a
multipurpose card. The card has the
features to store biometrics and can be
used for authentication for single sign on in
the portal, access card, services like
passport, drivers license in the card, ePurse

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.

We also hope that this ID card will open a door to the future, so that citizen‟s daily lives
may slowly migrate to an electronic one. This will contribute to easing transactions and
processes for all citizens as well as improving government services and providing a solid
foundation for electronic investment and trade.

The smartcard, which has been named the ID card, combines three current cards into one.
They are 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) and 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 labour card, an electronic payment
card (e-Purse) and a travel document to allow cardholder to pass through the electronic
border control gates at the border crossing points such as the airport. 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.

This smart card based id involved co-ordination between the different government agencies
to determine which of the current laws need to be amended, updated or cancelled. The CIO
has amended some of the articles in the CPR law, as well as updating and drafting laws for
the new smartcard ID card, cyber-crimes and electronic signature and verification. The
immigration ID card law was amended and updated by the GDNPR, while the GDT did the
same for the laws concerning the driving license. The necessary legislature was prepared to
implement the articles for these laws. The drafts were provided to the legal affairs
department for review, who in turn passed them on to the Cabinet. It was then passed on to
the Members of Parliament for discussion and law amendments.

As part of the GCC, Bahrain has always been careful to ensure that the smartcard can be
read and used throughout the GCC countries, especially since the card will replace the
immigration ID card which is currently used for travel by GCC nationals within the GCC.
Based on this, the Kingdom of Bahrain organized a workshop in April, 2004 which was
attended by delegates from all the GCC states. The purpose of this workshop was to agree
on the security features which must be available in the card and the most important data
fields to be stored within the chip. The attendees of the workshop also agreed on the
international standards that the card must adhere to. The Kingdom of Bahrain has assured
giving a GCC arab identity to this card in compliance with the standards laid down by the
workshop held in the Kingdom. This phase has been completed in its entirety.

Upon the CIO‟s finalization of the card design and surface printed details, cards were issued
for His Majesty the King, His Highness the Prime Minister and His Highness the Crown
Prince. This issuance announced the beginning of the Soft Launch of the card. The Pilot
phase began with the issuance of cards to VIPs and high ranking government officials. This
was done by personally visiting them and collecting the necessary data such as the
photograph, their fingerprint biometrics data and their digital signature. This data was then
stored in the national database and was recalled, along with other information, to print the
card. More than 70 per cent of the VIPs were issued a card. The plan is to provide all
residents with the smart card based ID by August 2009. More details are available @

The Bahrain smart card projects have won

various international awards including the
eIndia I4D award 2007. e-INDIA2007 is one
of the few events of its size, which in 3 years
of its organisation has reached this level of
participation and management which is
comparable to any international standards.
The i4d awards are presented in the eINDIA
Conference and Exhibition for best
eGovernment initiatives and projects. This
event attracts a number of foreign countries.
The Smart card project of the kingdom received the best e-government project award in the
Arab world at the Cardex conference and exhibition held in Cairo in 2007.

3.10 eGATE

Bahrain has implemented the eGate facility at the airport for immigration clearance. This
facility enables any Bahrain holding a valid smart card to enter and exit the country through
the electronic immigration system. This has been
enabled through the Kiosks. This facility has been
widely appreciated and accepted by the people of
Bahrain. The key highlights are:

1. Immigration clearance using smart card for

arrival and departure
2. Unique for its use with smart card ID in GCC,
also can be used by physically disabled.
3. First phase will allow Bahraini citizens to use e-
4. Second phase will allow GCC nationals to use e-
5. Third phase will allow all expatriate residents
use e-gate with their smartcard.

eGate system aims to automate the airport Immigration process for the citizens and
residents of Bahrain. It saves lot of time, human intervention and ultimately gives rich
experience to the users with the help of technology.

eGate is the system, which reads the CPR number from the smart card and authorizes the
user based on the finger print of the user. Once the user is authorized, then the immigration
details of the user will be updated in the GDNPR Immigration system. The system
successfully demonstrated features of connected government as the system required
authentication of data from multiple agencies using the IBM MQ series platform.

One of the uniqueness of the eGate system of Bahrain is that it uses a single card for the
identity and immigration purpose. Bahrain is one of the very few countries in the world to
have a built in passport in the national identity card.

The system successfully demonstrated features of a connected government.

4 Key statistics
On the enabler side for the uptake of eGovernment, Bahrain has one of the highest
penetrations of Mobile and internet services in the region. In line with international practice,
we have set up a Telecom Regulatory Authority ( As per the statistics
available in 2008, the penetration rate for mobile is 131%.

More than 50% of house-holds have broad band, and more than 78% of households have
landline connectivity with internet. Bahrain ranks 37th out of 134 studied countries in the
2009-Global Information Technology Report – (Recognized as the „gold standard‟ for
benchmarking the networked readiness and technological competitiveness of the world‟s
economies (2008-2009)), World Economic Forum/INSEAD.

On the Human Capital index, a recent publication of United Nations ranks Bahrain as the
leader in Human Capital Index in Middle East. We have a literacy rate of more than 85%. As
per the UNDP Human Development report 2007/2008, the Bahrain is ranked 41 out of 177
in the Human Development Index.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia have commented that
Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. Bahrain is the 16th freest
economy in the world, and the freest economy in the Middle East, ahead of Japan, Belgium,
Austria, German, Sweden and Norway (Source: 2009 Heritage Foundation/Wall Street
Journal Index of Economic Freedom). In 2008, Bahrain was named the world's fastest
growing financial centre by the City of London's Global Financial Centres Index.

5 Contact Details
For any information related to the eGovernment programme of Bahrain, data for
eGovernment survey please feel free to contact us @

Mr. Isa AbdulRahman

Marketing & Awareness Director
eGovernment Authority
Euro Tower, 10th Floor
PO Box 75533, Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain
Office Telephone +973 17 388 337
Mobile: 39322822
Fax +973 17 388 338