United Arab Emirates Claims it’s First Government to Go Paperless

UAEThe idea of the paperless office has been around for decades – one of its first mentions was in a 1975 Business Week article – but while great strides have been made in implementing electronic document workflows in enterprises and governments, a completely paperless office has remained elusive. However, according to Thomson Reuters Zawya, the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) says it’s done just that, announcing that it’s achieved a virtually paperless government.

According to the report, two years ago, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, challenged every government department across the UAE to become paperless, directing government personnel to implement new strategies and use new technologies to make government smarter, more efficient, and paper-less.

According to an official progress report on the two-year deadline set by Shaikh Mohammad, 96.3 percent of government transactions now use “smart functionality” and applications that avoid the use of paper. That figure is across 41 separate federal entities, ministries, and departments

According to the UAE government: “At the touch of a button or through a key stroke, the UAE’s government and its myriad of services are now accessible every hour of every day that makes up a year. That means that the government is working for all, all the time.”

Of course, keep in mind that the scope of the UAE government’s transition to paper-less operation is relatively small, relative to the UAE’s small size: according to the CIA World Fact Book, the United Nations estimates the UAE’s population to be around 9 million people.- about the size of New York City’s population – and it has a 2014 GDP of $605 billion – less than the State of California’s 2012 GDP of about $2.2 trillion. Still, the UAE government’s nearly complete elimination of paper is impressive, and while we think print will be in the office for many decades to come, it demonstrates the strong growth and acceptance of paperless document workflows.

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