The countries of the GCC have improved their overall adoption of e-government, according to the latest UN e-Government Development Index (EGDI).
The EGDI, which is published every two years, shows all of the countries in the region improved their score, but as other countries have pushed their way up the index, several GCC countries have slipped down the rankings.
The 2018 edition of the EGDI shows that none of the countries in the region rank in the top twenty, which are led by Denmark, Australia, and Republic of Korea.
The EGDI, which was launched in 2003, measures all 193 UN member nation's use of ICT to deliver public services. The Index captures the scope and quality of online services, status of telecommunication infrastructure and existing human capacity.
The number of countries with a very high score - over 0.75 out of 1.0, has increased from 29 in 2016 to 40 in 2018.
The UAE and Bahrain rank in the high-performing group, with scores of 0.8295 and 0.8116 respectively, putting the UAE at 21st on the global rankings and Bahrain 26th. Bahrain has slipped from 24th in 2016, along with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which fell to 41st and 52nd respectively. Oman was able to increase its placing to 63rd.
This year's report also included a survey of local e-Government development on city-basis, although only Dubai was placed in the top 20 for this new index.
The Local Online Service Index (LOSI) ranked 40 cities worldwide, primarily on their official municipality websites. The LOSI rated technology criteria; content provision such as presentation of essential information; services provision of electronic services; and participation and engagement mechanisms and initiatives.
The leading cities worldwide on the LOSI were Moscow, Cape Town, and Talinn (Estonia). Dubai places 16th on the list, with a score of 44, just behind New York and Madrid (46). Cairo was 28th and Riyadh 30th.
The UN report said that for the first time, the main contributor of EDGI scores improvement in all income groups is development of online services, suggesting that globally, there was a steady progress in improving e-government and public services provision online.
All 193 Member States of the United Nations had national portals and back-end systems to automate core administrative tasks, and 140 provide at least one transactional service online, with utility bill payment, income tax returns and new business registrations the most common services.
The report also noted the increased provision of online services for vulnerable groups, where Europe leads with online service delivery for all vulnerable groups reaching almost universal coverage across the region or over 80% of all European countries.