(Photo for illustrative purposes only) (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai ruler and vice president and prime minister of the UAE, on Wednesday launched a new initiative that will see an increasing number of government services delivered via mobile devices.

The scheme, known as ‘m-Government’, will see all government entities in the Gulf state provide their services via mobile phones, text messaging and other portable devices within the next two years.

The plan follows on from the launch of the UAE’s e-Government initiative in 2000, which has seen many government services made available via the internet in the time since.

"We are embracing the most modern concept in innovative government by moving towards the delivery of government services through mobile phones,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

"The objective now is to relocate customer service centres into every customer device, enabling them to obtain their desired service through their mobile phones anywhere and at any time. A successful government reaches out to the citizens rather than wait for them to come to it," he added.

The announcement did not specify exactly what services would be made available and when.

The UAE has one of the highest rates of mobile phone penetration in the world, with approximately 14m active subscribers across a permanent population of about 8m.