DUBAI, 24th September 2016 (WAM) – A delegation of experts in government innovation from the United Arab Emirates has met with the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, at Buckingham Palace at a reception that aimed to present and share the best practices developed and incubated by the UAE’s government innovation team and implemented across government entities in the country.

“Our aim is to develop, share and benchmark global best practices in government innovation that answer and meet the needs of progressive and open governance, said Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future.

The team presenting to Prince Andrew represented members of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation, a UAE-based think-tank and innovation centre that aims to drive the development of leading edge of government services and facilities that truly benefit citizens. The Centre forms part of a wide-ranging network of innovation hubs, incubators and laboratories that is driving the development of fresh thinking and practice in the UAE’s government.

“The drive to develop expertise in government innovation initiated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is leading the way for other governments,” Gergawi added. “We are delighted to share best practices developed in the UAE, as well as learn from our peers and colleagues. Our presentation today shows the strong partnership between the UAE and the UK continues to reap true benefits for both communities.”

The UAE’s focus on innovation in government comes as part of a wide-ranging programme of government reform and revitalisation developed in the country over the past decade. Commencing with 2007’s Federal Government Strategy, a process of strategic reform has transformed governance in the young nation, including the development of a wide number of smart cities and smart government initiatives. These have culminated in recent reforms of the educational sector as well as the appointment of new ministerial posts, which include Ministers for Happiness, Tolerance and Youth.

“We have managed to transform government innovation from being a theoretical concept to a practical, implemented reality. Innovation today is at the very heart of everything we aim to achieve in government,” said Gergawi.

Among a number of initiatives in developing innovation in government between the UAE and the UK, a diploma in innovation in government was developed and implemented by the University of Cambridge together with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation.

The visit was also attended by Sulaiman Al Mazroui, UAE ambassador to the United Kingdom and Huda Al Hashimi, assistant director general for strategy and innovation in the Prime Minster’s Office.