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Bilateral Relations between Singapore and Kuwait Elevated to a Higher Plane

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications & the Arts Remarks at Singapore-Kuwait Signing Ceremony for Co-operation in e-Government, MICA, The Esplanade Room

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications & the Arts
Remarks at Singapore-Kuwait Signing Ceremony for Co-operation in e-Government, MICA, The Esplanade Room
Singapore, 15 September 2004

His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad, Minister of Communications and Planning, and Minister of State for Administrative Development, State of Kuwait
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Together with His Excellency, Sheikh Ahmad, I am delighted to formalise this important partnership between the Government of the State of Kuwait and the Government of the Republic of Singapore.

2. The Prime Minister of Kuwait, His Highness Sheik Sabah, recently visited Singapore in July, and had agreed with then-Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, that it was timely for both countries to strengthen our bilateral trade and economic links with each other. One of the areas highlighted for cooperation was e-government. Today's MOU signing on e-Government within two short months after the meeting between the two Prime Ministers, signifies the commitment on both sides to strengthen ties and enhance co-operation in public infrastructural development.

3. Singapore had adopted information technology since the early 80s beginning with a Civil Service Computerisation Programme. This prepared us for the rapid changes in infocomm-technology as well as the transformation of the business environment in the early 90s. We were thus able to implement new national infocomm and e-Government blueprints to bring benefits of new technology to our people. Our first e-Government Action Plan, resulted in e-delivery of more than 1,600 government services to date. As of Dec 2002, all key services deemed feasible for e-delivery were already available online. Through the e-Government Action Plan, we have transformed public service and became more effective in meeting the needs of both citizens and businesses. We are happy that many of our e-Government efforts were noted and commended by international panelists and professional institutions worldwide. For example, Singapore is ranked second by Accenture in its 2003 e-Government Leadership report and top in the e-Government category of the World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report

4. Singapore and Kuwait share a common vision to transform the public service into a networked government to improve the quality of life for our citizens. I believe that Singapore government agencies such as the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and our local infocomm companies can work together with the Kuwaiti Government, to accelerate e-Government development in Kuwait.

5. This cooperation encompasses more than just a transfer of technology and best practices. It is also an exchange of ideas, culture and fostering of friendships between the people of our two countries. Such co-operation on e-government creates a win-win partnership for both parties as we learn from each other. This will in turn contribute to our respective socio-economic development and help to enhance the competitive edge for both countries. In particular, e-government specialists and Singaporean companies which had participated in our own e-government programmes will find new opportunities for collaborating with their Kuwaiti counterparts.

6. The conclusion of today's MOU is a milestone that will elevate our bilateral relations to an even higher plane. I look forward to a long-lasting partnership that will not only strengthen existing relations but also open up new areas for cooperation and mutual benefits to Kuwait and Singapore.

7. Thank you.