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E-government Help Center (4th in the world)

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Hi, well another first for Bahrain in the region, enjoy:

ONE of the only four e-government help centres in the world was opened in Bahrain at the new Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) headquarters, Isa Town, yesterday.

CIO, IBM and Bahrain Business Machines (BBM) jointly set up the centre.

It will help Bahrain and other governments in the Middle East to roll out e-government projects.

CIO president Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatalla Al Khalifa signed an agreement for the new centre with IBM Software Group Europe, Middle East and Africa vice-president Tom Francese and BBM general manager Abdulla Ishaq.

The ceremony was also attended by officials from the Bahrain government and the country's business community.

CIO, IBM and GBM have worked together over the last two years to build an end-to-end e-government infrastructure for Bahrain on a platform based on open standards, said Shaikh Ahmed.

"Bahrain is the first government in the Middle East to join a growing number of governments around the world who are adopting open standards for their e-government initiatives in order to benefit from reduced costs and increased flexibility," he told a Press conference.

"We are proud to be one of the four such centres in the world. The other three are located in Virginia (US), Germany and Moscow."

Standards-based technologies offer unprecedented opportunities for modernisation throughout society in Bahrain, said Shaikh Ahmed.

"We have a unique experience in that we have built our e-government infrastructure on open standards and I am proud to say that it has been a successful project," he noted.

"The establishment of the centre today will allow us to share our experience with other government organisations and enable them to access the latest open standards solutions they can use for their own e-government initiatives."

The Bahrain e-government solution centre will be linked to a network of IBM e-government centres worldwide, said Mr Ishaq.

"The centre will be staffed by professionals from CIO and GBM who have benefited from extensive training at the IBM e-government centres in the United States and Germany.

"In addition, the centre will host customer and business partner events, round table discussions, and solution demonstrations."

"It will establish a strong link with European and other governments and offer access to best practices and experience from around the world," said Mr Francese.

"This is a great opportunity to build a critical mass of resources for e-government in the region at a time when governments around the Middle East recognise the importance of open standards solutions as the way forward."
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