iGA CEO: Bahrain government has successfully adopted Cloud First policy

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Manama, Jan. 17 (BNA): Bahrain’s government has successfully adopted and implemented its Cloud First Policy, Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive Mohammed Ali Al Qaed announced at a press conference. 

He credited the achievement to the vision of the Kingdom’s leadership and the directives of the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. 


Al Qaed highlighted a string of government achievements during 2021, including the migration of more than 70% of the operations and systems of 72 government entities to the Cloud; the complete migration of 32 public and private entities; and the establishment of four entirely cloud-based government entities, namely: the National Bureau for Revenue (NBR), the National Communications Centre (NCC), the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA), and the Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA). 


He noted that work is ongoing on the cloud migration of the General Sports Authority (GSA) and several hospitals and health centers.


Al Qaed shared indicators of the Government of Bahrain’s successful adoption of its Cloud First Policy, including a reduction in the time needed for the technical infrastructure readiness of projects by 60%, and operational expenses by 60 to 80%. 


He explained that the Ministry of Education’s eLearning project has led to a reduction in costs amounting to BD97,432 or 89%. Similarly, Al Qaed noted that the Civil Service Bureau’s Organizational Performance Project (Takamul) led to an 83% reduction in costs or the equivalent of BD80,235 and the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments’ Digital Archiving project cut costs by approximately 56% or BD82,560.


iGA CEO said that Bahrain, over several years and through hard work, succeeded in creating a robust infrastructure for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, in addition to ensuring the readiness of the business environment and providing legislation supportive of digital transformation and the deployment of advanced technologies. These accomplishments led Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the largest cloud computing service providers in the world, to choose the Kingdom as the location for its first data centres in the region, launched in 2019. 


In 2017, the Government of Bahrain, adopted its Cloud First Policy, as per the decision by the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT), chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, HH Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, with the support of the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, to redirect IT investment towards Cloud computing.


Al Qaed said that the Cloud First Policy aims to encourage the deployment of advanced technologies and systems in the IT sector to enhance the public’s quality of life by providing highly efficient services. Bahrain will continue implementing this policy on a wider scale and to further improve government processes.


iGA’s Deputy CE of Operations and Governance, Dr. Khalid Al Mutawah

said that establishing systems on the Cloud helped the government overcome several challenges associated with a growing central infrastructure, which include human resources and manpower, keeping pace with technological advancements, meeting infrastructure development requirements, and increasing financial burdens from infrastructure support, maintenance, and management.


He added that Cloud computing had provided solutions to these challenges, including cost reduction, improving flexibility and efficiency, enhancing regulations and readiness of services, and providing security systems in line with international standards.


Dr. Al Mutawah affirmed that encouraging the public sector to switch from traditional to Cloud computing solutions will lead to greater efficiency in expenditure, faster innovation, stronger cybersecurity, and more flexibility. The main government entities that have completely migrated to the Cloud include the Ministry of Housing; Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Tourism; Ministry of Labor and Social Development; Supreme Council for Environment; Supreme Judicial Council; Labor Market Regulatory Authority; University of Bahrain; and Bahrain Polytechnic. This is in addition to the development of apps on AWS’s Cloud computing system, such as BeAware Bahrain, Benayat, OFOQ by Customs Affairs, the Employability Skills Portal (ESP), and the National Real Estate Databank (NRED).


F.K.N.