Estonia’s Nortal helps Dubai create a paperless government

The Tallinn-based multinational strategic change and technology company, Nortal, is helping Dubai’s government become fully digital by 2021.

According to Andres Käärik, Nortal’s business development manager, the company helped Dubai create a vision and roadmap of where they want to go and advised on how to get there. In a blog post, Käärik explained that by 2021, all Dubai’s public services would be available in electronic channels around the clock, and its government would work 365 days a year. “There will be no need to visit any government service centre in person; users receive the results and documentation of services in electronic form on mobile devices.”

This assessment was recently confirmed by Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who announced that “the Dubai government will issue its last paper transaction in 2021.”

“We are looking to build a truly smart city – one that will use technology as the key to a balanced and happy life,” one of the rulers of the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates said.

Electronic identification ecosystem

Käärik said that one of the key pillars in achieving the aim was electronic identification and the electronic signature. “To set up a well-functioning electronic identification ecosystem, any country needs trust, legislation, technological infrastructure, and electronic services that people want to use,” Käärik said, adding that none of this could function without well-organised information exchange and process automation between different government institutions.

Dubai’s electronic identification uses SIM card independent cryptography technologies. “It has separate design and user experience components for electronic identity and electronic signature to provide a clear and user-friendly distinction between authentication and signature procedures,” Käärik explained.

Nortal, originally called Webmedia, was set up by three students in Tartu in 2000. Subsequently, the company grew into a respectable authority in e-government strategy and solutions – according to the company, it has planned and implemented over 40% of Estonia’s digital solutions in e-governance. Today, the company employs over 500 professionals, with offices beside Estonia in Lithuania, Serbia, Oman, Dubai and the US.


Cover: Dubai skyline (the image is illustrative.)

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