UAE government launches World Virtual GovHack ahead of 5th World GovTech Prize

DUBAI, 4th December, 2017 (WAM) — The UAE Government has announced that it will begin receiving applications for the World Virtual GovHack – part of the fifth annual World GovTech Prize – until December 30th, 2017.

The World GovTech Prize includes three global prizes, namely, Best m-Government Award, the World Virtual Hackathon and Best Government Emerging Technologies Award, the first of which has managed to attract more than 3,400 entries from around the world, marking a 37 percent increase from last year. Winners of the Awards will be announced at the upcoming sixth World Government Summit on February 11-13, 2018.

The Award reflects the visions of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is organised by the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future in collaboration with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) with the aim to motivate and encourage government entities to provide innovative smartphone applications to ensure accessible and uninterrupted government services. An international jury panel will evaluate the various emerging technology experiences and select the winning project.

In the meantime, entries for the Best Government Emerging Technologies Award will be evaluated by teams of leading international experts in collaboration with MIT Technology Review, the tech-focused magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The top 10 submissions will be selected to be presented at the World Government Summit, where the winning applications will be selected and announced.

The World GovTech Prize seeks to motivate government bodies to embrace and promote government smart initiatives, and to develop partnerships and strive to provide smart and innovative solutions to common global challenges in order to achieve happiness in communities.

Mohamed Bin Taliah, Assistant Director-General for Corporate Services and Deputy Assistant Director-General for Government Services at the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, asserted that the UAE Government is pioneering solutions that will lead to positive change in society by addressing the challenges of the future and turning them into opportunities using Fourth-Industrial-Revolution tools and technologies.

The World Virtual GovHack attracts the brightest minds in programming to find solutions for key challenges that threaten our world and the sustainability of resources, he explained. He went on to add that the great global turnout and the advanced level of submissions for the Best m-Government Award have established it as a leader in attracting creative solutions for global challenges.

Bin Taliah stressed the importance of further promoting the integration among government entities and stakeholders under a wider scope that includes several vital areas and allows for the participation of government applications aimed at serving individuals and businesses.

With the World Virtual GovHack, the UAE Government aims to motivate governments around the world to provide the best possible solutions to the challenges that threaten communities and negatively affect happiness levels. Teaming up with major IT companies such as IBM, ConsenSys and others, the Hackathon also aims to encourage developers to create wide-reaching technologies to help strengthen communities and improve people’s lives.

A special website has been created to receive entries, namely Hackathon.GovTechPrize.ae. The deadline for submitting entries expires on December 30th, 2017. The winning team will be awarded the first prize of US$200,000, while second- and third-place winners will receive $150,000 and $100,000, respectively.

The Hackathon covers the main challenges facing the world and hindering the sustainability of resources. The challenges span several strategic sectors, including water and food security, access to electricity, refugee resettlement, economic stability and evolution of services.

The food security challenge focuses on ways to consistently meet the demand for food – be it from a country’s own agricultural sector or through imports. Meanwhile, the water security challenge assesses the availability, accessibility and quality of water available for individuals.

The Hackathon also addresses access to electricity, exploring effective solutions to improve it– most notably to provide the basic requirements for heating and cooling – seeing as there are currently a billion people without access to electrical power. In the economic stability challenge, solutions are put forth to ensure stable income and decent living standards for individuals.

On another note, the Hackathon tackles the subject of resettlement of refugees, which is prompted by the increase in the migration and displacement of individuals in search of political and economic stability. The final subject, the evolution of services, seeks ways to provide services that employ Fourth-Industrial-Revolution technologies to improve people’s lives.

The Organising Committee for the Best m-Government Award praised the high level of participation from government, private and academic entities from the UAE, the region and the world with 3,401 applications submitted on the website www.GovTechPrize.ae In its fifth edition, the award raises the bar in terms of requirements for potential applicants, in an effort to support the UAE’s ongoing efforts to improve government smartphone applications and improve customer satisfaction.

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