Key e-government event concluded [Archives:2003/691/Front Page]

December 4 2003

Organized by the ESCWA, in cooperation with UNDP/Yemen and the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTIT ) a 3-day regional workshop on Electronic Government concluded yesterday at the Telecommunications and Information Technology City in Sana'a. The event was represented by 14 foreign and Arab countries.
During the opening session, PM Abdulqader Bajamal announced that to cope with the advanced information technology, Yemen will introduce English Language course from the fourth level of basic education and computer learning from the secondary schooling. He emphasized that he was not motivated very much by the e-government project as Yemen has a lot to do before it initiates such an important project. However, he called on the private sector to join the government efforts to promote knowledge of information technology, administration in the country.
On his part, Mr. James Rawley, UN Resident Representative in Yemen said that the development of telecommunications infrastructure “began in earnest after unification in 1990 and has received significant attention from government in recent years. Nonetheless, it must be recognized that the country's telecom facilities remain among the least developed and under-utilized in the Arab world even through the telephone reaches over 350,000 subscribers and the number of mobile customers is growing rapidly.”
He said that the usage of the internet in Yemen remains low in comparison with neighboring countries because of the high costs of computer equipment relative to average wages and the restricted bandwidth available on Yemen's outdated telephone network. He announced that the UNDP cooperation with Yemen government aims to facilitate seven different initiatives through an incubator approach; they are : development of a national ICT Action Plan for the use of ICT in socioeconomic development, implementation of a franchise mechanism to fund the implementation of community-based Telecenters through small loans, setting up a web-based development portal to provide pertinent development information to cities through internet outlets, supporting Mobile Internet Units to deliver ICT training for the public and education sector, conducting a series of workshops and seminars, providing high-level advisory services and support for ICT and development policies; and supporting Quick Impact projects such as the implementation of an International Computer Driving License Program for Government employees.
The workshop addressed major issues facing public administration reform efforts and the establishment of e-government in Yemen, with focus on supporting electronic tools. It also highlighted lessons learnt from previous programs in these regards and will identify areas where ESCWA and UNDP/Yemen can have tangible impact in supporting the development of e-government in Yemen. This workshop is just a part of and the stepping stone for a comprehensive program for the development of information and communication technology in Yemen that the UNDP has decided to undertake.
It focused on the role of developing public services and human resources development in giving access to e-government, infrastructure and legal aspects needed for e-government.