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Full digital transformation is a key investment area for Sharjah

Fifty senior officials and key decision makers part of the Sharjah government have stressed that digital transformation is no longer just a consideration for the emirate, but an area equipped with strategic decision making followed by long-term investments, human capital training and consistent efforts to boost the emirate’s economic performance, innovation, leadership and sustainability across sectors.

They were gathered at the inaugural edition of “NexTech: The Formula for Digital Transformation Excellence”, a new technology initiative designed by Sahab Smart Solutions, which seeks to highlight exciting new possibilities in digital transformation for the emirate’s government departments. The event was held in partnership with the Higher Committee for Digital Transformation in Sharjah recently at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC).

The officials analysed the current state of digitisation in Sharjah, focused on challenges and opportunities, and discussed future possibilities for both Sharjah and the UAE. They highlighted that upskilling the nation’s human resources with the right policies and legislative framework, a strong focus on making the nation’s cybersecurity practices more robust, and full integration among different sectors were pillars of successful digital transformation.

Moderated by Amin Al Zarouni, CEO of Sahab Smart Solutions, the talks were led by Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Digital Transformation in Sharjah; Sheikh Saud Bin Sultan Al Qasimi;  Asma Rashed Sultan Bin Tulaiah Secretary-General of the Sharjah Executive Council; and Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Civil Defence.

Dr Enginneer Khalifa Musabbah Al Tunaiji, Chairman of the Sharjah Directorate of Housing; Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) also attended.

The attendees put forth a series of recommendations including the need to enhance joint investments between the public and private sectors to develop programmes, platforms and digital solutions to create secure and advanced public services, and subsequently, make digital governance a reality. The private sector, they said, would commit the required capital for this transformation, while the public sector will facilitate the process by designing laws and developing a policy environment that protects and safeguards data through advanced security systems.

Sheikh Fahim said, “The government of Sharjah, in line with the UAE’s strategy, continues its ambitious digitalisation efforts that competes with the best in the region. We are looking at evolving a digital environment that connects all services to truly benefit customers. Spurred by the ambitious vision of our wise leadership, we are well on our way to positioning Sharjah as an integral part of the nation’s digital gateway. Our ambitions are guided by our wise leadership which supports the Sharjah government and requires us to double up our responsibilities to enhance people’s quality of life by strengthening the relationship between institutions and community.”

Speaking about Sharjah Digital Platform, he further added: “The launch of the Sharjah Digital Platform was a milestone in the emirate’s digital transformation journey. This platform will enable us to forge Sharjah’s digital identity, which will not only cater to citizens and residents within the emirate, but those living abroad and have a connection with it through investments or other ventures. It is vital to connect them all to Sharjah, and so this platform is being designed to serve them all. The next three years will be crucial as we invest in the future, bolstering our digital infrastructure to enhance our competitive edge. This is a great opportunity for us to forge ahead of the competition.”

For his part, Sheikh Saoud said: “Digital transformation strengthens integration between government bodies and unifies service gateways; it reinforces the emirate’s digital identity, shapes smart cities and societies, and makes our country a global model in the field. Digital transformation is a key tool for the advancement of people’s quality of life.”

 A strong message came from Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, who said that in the age of rapid technological advancements, Sharjah instead to stay ahead and not play catch up.

He added, “These developments across sectors are being led by people who are driven by innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. The UAE’s leadership prioritises innovation and creativity, has enacted policies and legislations, and launched initiatives and programmes to incentivise digital leaders in society who will help us build a supportive environment fully capable of serving our communities, now and in the future.”

In agreement with Colonel Sami, Marwan Al Sarkal remarked: “Digital transformation is no longer an option; it is a necessity for all countries. It is a long-term investment with great cumulative and sustainable returns that will transform not only the business environment but add to the quality of life and services offered to residents.”

He added: “COVID-19 has encouraged a largescale adoption of digital transformation movement in all sectors, most notably education where it has become the lifeline for institutions as well as teachers and students.”

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