Egypt meeting highlights UAE’s model of governance

More than 2,000 government officials from Egypt and the UAE attended the conference.
Sunday 08/07/2018
Building capacities. Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) Mansoor Al Awar speaks during Egypt’s 2018 Government Excellence Conference in Cairo.  (WAM)
Building capacities. Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) Mansoor Al Awar speaks during Egypt’s 2018 Government Excellence Conference in Cairo. (WAM)

CAIRO - Egypt’s 2018 Government Excellence Conference wrapped up on a note of optimism about cooperation between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, two Arab states considered models for inter-Arab relations.

The conference discussed successful administrative experiences in the UAE and how Egypt could reproduce the UAE’s positive results.

Behind Egypt’s desire to learn from the UAE’s ability to simplify and speed up government services are Egypt’s aspirations to transform its administration to achieve the “sustainable, development strategy” known as Egypt Vision 2030.

“The United Arab Emirates has turned into a model for administrative and government excellence, having scrapped outdated administration methods and depended on modern technologies in the management of government business,” said Alaa Abed, the head of the Egyptian-Emirati Friendship Committee, a body including officials from both countries that works to cooperate.

Dependence on modern technology, simplification of government services, creation of databases, formulation of successful development plans and planning for the future were key issues for those at the conference.

More than 2,000 government officials from Egypt and the UAE attended the conference, with the focus being on how Cairo could learn from the Emirati experience.

Leading the Emirati delegation at the conference was Mohammad Abdulla al-Gergawi, the minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future in the United Arab Emirates. He said cooperation between the UAE and Egypt should serve as a model for relations among Arab countries.

“We have chosen to work as one team with our brothers in Egypt,” Gergawi said.

The UAE delegation included cabinet ministers and government officials, who talked about how they overcame challenges facing their ministries and institutions, facilitated ease of access for citizens and residence and formulated plans for development.

“Innovation in the field of government services contributes to improving the quality of life for citizens,” said Huda al-Hashimi, the head of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation. “This innovation plays a basic role in stimulating economic growth, creating jobs and increasing the income of citizens.”

The conference, expected to become an annual event, came from a memorandum of understanding the UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future signed with the Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Administrative Reform in February.

The document aims to expand administrative and government cooperation between Cairo and Abu Dhabi, provide training for Egyptian administrative workers and transfer UAE governance and administrative expertise to Egypt, which has a massive civil service.

Enthusiasm in the UAE to assist Egypt to overhaul its administrative apparatus stems from a desire from the UAE leadership to pay back Egypt, which has often offered unwavering support for the Emiratis.

“The teachers in our schools were Egyptian, the doctors in our hospitals were Egyptian and the legal experts who created our justice system were Egyptian,” Gergawi said. He revealed it was an Egyptian teacher who changed his life and that he and other Emirati officials were keen to repay Egypt.

Egypt has its own problems, some of which observers hope will be addressed by a development strategy set to be fully implemented by 2030. The strategy, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said at the concluding session of the conference, seeks to raise the economic growth rate, achieve comprehensive economic development and raising the efficiency of the government’s administrative apparatus.

“We know that we need years of hard work to achieve these important goals,” Madbouli said.

Inefficiency is one major problem for the Egyptian administrative apparatus. Administration is held-back by corruption, dependence on outdated systems, a lack of training for workers and resistance by some workers to use modern technology.

Egypt has formulated an 8-year plan to modernise its administrative apparatus, known as Vision 2030. The plan includes training for hundreds of thousands of administrative workers and would entail a change in the systems in government offices.

“The absence of planning within this apparatus, resistance to change inside it and the lack of an objective assessment of the workers are major challenges facing the plan,” said Sharifa Sharif, the head of the National Administration Institute, the Ministry of Planning body implementing Vision 2030. “Nevertheless, we insist to change all this.”