Bahrain’s Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) held a meeting with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and the Secretariat General of the GCC to follow up on directives by the GCC Smart Card Technical Team and discuss cooperation related to Information Technology (IT).
The meeting was in keeping with GCC efforts to implement the initiatives of the General Secretariat’s Economic and Development Affairs, which aim to promote technical integration among Gulf countries. The iGA team was led by Deputy CE of Electronic Transformation, Dr. Zakariya AlKhajah, and the Saudi team, by Director of Public Security and Head of the GCC Integration Team, Brigadier Hamad bin Ali Al Harbi.
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s eKey service and system experience was shared, along with iGA’s efforts to continuously develop eservices, channels and projects, noting the support of the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.
Dr. AlKhajah revealed that eKey’s Basic and Advanced versions are being used by over 611,000 beneficiaries to access more than 153 eServices available via the National Portal, www.bahrain.bh. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), further improvements to the eKey system and a facility for eSignatures are all currently under consideration.
The agenda covered a range of other items, including methods to accelerate the integration of Bahrain’s and Saudi Arabia’s ID verification systems as per a previous agreement, which stipulated that this project was to be the first phase of a larger Secretariat General plan to connect the systems of all GCC countries.
Benefits of integrating the systems were also discussed, including allowing Bahraini citizens to access Saudi Arabia’s Unified National Platform www.my.gov.sa using the same eKey usernames and passwords they use in Bahrain without the need to create new accounts when visiting Saudi Arabia. The same will apply to Saudi citizens, who will be able to use their Identity Authentication system to access www.bahrain.bh. This will streamline commercial and investment procedures between the two countries, allowing users to carry out online transactions using a digital ID, without the need for Bahraini investors to visit Saudi Arabia or vice versa.
Dr. AlKhajah highlighted Bahrain’s commitment to implementing and supporting ambitious digital initiatives toward comprehensive electronic integration between the GCC countries.