By Greg Wilson
Dubai e-Government and Intel have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly promote online services.
Dubai e-Government has teamed up with Intel to boost PC and internet penetration in the UAE. Through the joint ‘e4all’ initiative both parties will work to deliver ‘value packages’ designed to educate the public and the private sectors about e-services.Intel will sponsor e4all by offering the latest Pentium-based PCs at affordable rates in the UAE. “Dubai e-Government is entering a new stage of development by launching the e4all initiative with the involvement of Intel,” says Salem Al Shair, e-services director, Dubai e- Government. “It will provide a new impetus to the spread of e-services and considerably enhance the skills of people and businesses [that use] Dubai e-Government’s offerings. It forms part of our outreach program to create wider awareness about [e-government] and its various online services. We believe this initiative will contribute significantly towards achieving our goal of providing most government services online by 2005,” he adds.The e4all announcement was unofficially made at ITP’s E-government road show in Dubai. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has also been signed by Salem Al Shair and John Davies, Intel’s vice president of sales & marketing. “Intel has extensive experience of working actively with governments around the world on IT deployment to the average consumer. Our cooperation agreement with the UAE marks a first in the Arab World,” explains Davies. “The project will provide an umbrella solution for ordinary UAE citizens to buy the Pentium-based PCs at an affordable level with the added benefit of a combined [web] service offering,” he adds.The e4all programme will target both individuals and businesses. In particular, it will focus on government employees and women at home, and the small and medium enterprises (SME). “The UAE is already well placed with high levels of PC and internet penetration, however we are keen to ensure that the full benefits of PCs and internet have the widest possible reach within our region,” comments Al Shair.Although the specifics of the deal have yet to be finalised, Intel has agreed to be the main sponsor. Dubai e-Government will be the main driver of the campaign and ensure the participation and collaboration of the other main parties needed to make the programme successful. The programme will be promoted through the media and through the Dubai e-Government’ database of government employees, registered businesses and citizens.Key to the success of the programme is the Dubai e-Government’ commitment to involve an internet service provider (ISP), a financing partner and a training agency. The government agency will also work to ensure preferential internet fees and attractive finance rates.