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World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2014


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This year marks the 13th edition of the Global Information Technology Report, which provides a comprehensive assessment of networked readiness, or how prepared an economy is to apply the benefits of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to promote economic growth and well-being. Using updated methodology that was introduced in 2012, the report ranks the progress of 148 economies in leveraging ICTs to increase productivity, economic growth and the number of quality jobs.

The rankings also show how far some countries have gone in bridging the digital divide – not only in terms of developing ICT infrastructure, but also in terms of economic and social impact – and highlight the main strengths and weaknesses countries are facing. This edition also analyses in detail the rewards and risks associated with big data and what public and private organizations must do to benefit from it. The report remains the most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of its kind.

Published in: Technology, Business
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World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2014

  1. 1. The Networked Readiness Index 2014 Benchmarking ICT Uptake in a World of Big Data 23.04.2014
  2. 2. What the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) aims to achieve The World Economic Forum's Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures individual nations’ preparedness to use ICT to benefit their economy and society. The NRI also seeks to understand the impact of ICT on national competitiveness, and provide decision makers with an invaluable conceptual framework to benchmark the ICT readiness and usage of their economies. It is published annually.
  3. 3. Elements of the networked readiness index The NRI involves measurement of four components: the environment for ICT offered by a given country, the country’s readiness to use ICT, the usage of ICT among key stakeholders (individuals, business and government), and ICT’s impact on the country Source: World Internet Project, International Report 2009
  4. 4. Methodology and data The NRI 2014 derives from a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data. Half the variables are quantitative data, collected primarily by international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations. Half are more qualitative and come from the Executive Opinion Survey, which the Forum administers annually to 15,000 leaders globally.
  5. 5. The Networked Readiness Index 2014: A Global Overview
  6. 6. The top 10 rankings in the index continue to be dominated by Northern European economies, the Asian tigers, and some of the most advanced Western economies.
  7. 7. Top performers The top rankings remain very stable from the previous year, with no movement in the top 6, and negligible changes in the rest. The exception is Hong Kong SAR, which climbs six positions to 8th. Three Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden and Norway) are among the top 5. Denmark and Iceland also feature in the top 20. — The Asian tigers also perform very strongly, with Singapore, Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Korea in the top ten, and Taiwan (China) at 14th. — The top 10 also includes some of the most advanced Western economies – the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom. — Finland tops the rankings again with a strong performance across the board – 1st in the readiness subindex thanks to an outstanding digital ICT infrastructure, and 2nd in both the usage and impact subindexes. — With the best pro-business and pro-innovation environment, Singapore (2nd overall) continues to obtain the top ranking for ICT impact.
  8. 8. The annual NRI rankings reflect the situation only at a given time. We have therefore identified four different groups of countries based on the development of their NRI score over the last three years. Rising stars: NRI scores above average and growing more rapidly than average — Armenia — Georgia — Kazakhstan — Panama — Qatar — United Arab Emirates Question marks: NRI scores below average but quickly catching up — Bolivia — Ecuador — Haiti — Nicaragua — Peru — Suriname — Swaziland — Yemen Sliding stars: NRI scores above average, but evolution seems to be lagging — Barbados — Denmark Laggards: NRI below average and lagging increasingly behind — Benin — Botswana — Burundi — Chad — Malawi — Mozambique — Timor-Leste — Tunisia
  9. 9. The NRI 2014 and its evolution since 2012
  10. 10. Evolutionary analysis of NRI results From this evolutionary analysis, we can derive several conclusions: Several oil- and gas-rich economies in the Commonwealth of Independent States and Gulf Cooperation Council are quickly improving their digital ecosystems. Their governments have recognized the importance of investing in ICTs as a means to diversify their economies. — Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are lagging behind, with no sign of improvement. As the positive impact of ICTs becomes increasingly apparent, this gap may have considerable consequences for their future economic development if actions are not adopted urgently. — In Latin America, countries nearer the bottom of the rankings are making significant strides to improve their digital potential. — Barbados, and especially Denmark (always at the forefront of the rankings) must not be complacent, and should address any weaknesses that may hamper their progress
  11. 11. NRI and the BRICS economies We have observed that the BRICS economies – Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa – are now struggling to maintain the rapid growth of recent years. One of the main ways to support sustained and stable growth in the long term is through improved use of digital ecosystems. The NRI results for the past years shows that, in general, little progress has been achieved in BRICS economies in this regard. Results have remained relatively stable across virtually all pillars. The only exception has been a slight improvement in the individual usage score. This stability has caused a drop in global rankings because other economies are progressing faster in developing and leveraging their ICT potential. With the exception of the Russian Federation, which rises six places in the rankings, all other BRICS economies have dropped over time, in some cases significantly, and now find themselves around the middle of the overall rankings.
  12. 12. NRI scores in BRICS economies, 2012 and 2014: Stability but little progress
  13. 13. Regional highlights: Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States Several European countries lead the NRI rankings, with six European economies – Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – in the top ten. A digital divide nevertheless persists within the European Union, with Southern and Central and Eastern European economies continuing to lag behind. — Performance, however, does vary even within these groups of countries. Estonia (21st) achieves scores similar to those in Western Europe. In Southern Europe, Portugal (33rd) and Spain (34th) outperform Greece (74th). — In comparison with their counterparts in North and Western Europe, business usage of ICT is particularly low in EU member states in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. — Within the Commonwealth of Independent States, several countries improve their performances, reflecting the key importance they have placed on ICTs to diversify their economies.
  14. 14. The digital divide in the European Union Central, Eastern and Southern European member states continue to lag behind their Western European counterparts. The gap is apparent for all ten pillars, although it is more pronounced within some.
  15. 15. Regional highlights: Asia and the Pacific With three economies from the region in the top 10 – Singapore, Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Korea - and several countries showing improvement, Asia and the Pacific is very dynamic and active in developing its ICT agenda. Yet a significant digital divide persists between the most advanced economies (the Asian Tigers and Japan) and emerging economies and other trailing countries. Other highlights: — Taiwan (China) slips to 14th place despite a stable performance in terms of score. — Australia (18th), New Zealand (20th) and Malaysia (30th) remain in the same position as last year. Japan (16th) moves up five places. — China falls four places to 62nd, despite an increase in its overall score. — Indonesia climbs 12 places to 64th position, the third best result among ASEAN countries, but considerably lower than Singapore and Malaysia.
  16. 16. Regional highlights: Latin America and the Caribbean Improving the connectivity of Latin America and the Caribbean continues to present a major challenge despite the recent efforts of many countries to develop and update their ICT infrastructures. Countries such as Chile (35th), Panama (43rd), Uruguay (56th) and Colombia (63rd) have, however, made significant progress in developing and ensuring more and better access to ICT infrastructure, resulting in higher ICT usage. Other highlights: — Despite a slight increase in NRI score, Brazil drops nine positions to 69th as other economies have been faster to embrace the digital revolution. — After a couple of years of significant improvements in the rankings, Mexico falls 16 positions to 79th. — Peru jumps 13 places to attain 90th position, thanks to some improvement in its ICT infrastructure. — Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua have also improved their scores significantly since 2012
  17. 17. Regional highlights: Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa continues to expand the share of the population covered by, and having access to, mobile telephony, and to increase the number of Internet users. In some countries – such as South Africa – this number has almost doubled. These improvements have led to many important innovations, providing more and better services that were previously unavailable, such as financial services. But the region overall continues to suffer from a relatively poor ICT infrastructure. Other highlights: — Mauritius recovers the ground lost last year and moves up seven positions to 48th. — Despite higher ICT penetration among individuals, the rankings of South Africa (70th) and Kenya (92nd) remain unaltered. — In East Africa, Zambia (110th), Uganda (115th) and Tanzania (125th) continue to lag behind. — In West Africa, many countries – such as Senegal (113th), Gabon (128th) and Cameroon (131st) – remain at the bottom of the rankings.
  18. 18. Regional highlights: The Middle East and North Africa The ability of countries to leverage ICTs to boost competitiveness and well-being continues to vary widely in the Middle East and North Africa. Israel and several Gulf Cooperation Council states maintain their strong performance, but many countries in North Africa continue to lag behind. Other highlights: — Israel maintains its position at 15th, leading the regional rankings. — Qatar remains stable at 23rd and leads the rankings in the Arab world. — In North Africa, countries – except Algeria – suffer significant drops and are positioned in the lower half of the rankings. — For example, Egypt (91st) falls 11 places and Morocco (99th) drops 10. Individual ICT uptake has slightly improved in both, but progress in this regard is slower than in many other countries.
  19. 19. Conclusions The NRI 2014 helps to identify and define policies and measures that can effect change to achieve the full potential of ICTs. The digital divide between advanced economies and emerging ones persists. This is particularly evident in terms of the economic and social impacts that ICTs can provide. The least developed countries suffer from slow progress in building and upgrading infrastructure, unfavorable business and innovation conditions, and weaknesses in their educational systems. The situation is particularly worrisome in sub-Saharan African countries. However, some countries, notably in the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Gulf Cooperation Council, have made significant progress in recent years, channeling many of their fossil fuel revenues towards ICT investments. Large disparities persist within all regions as well as between them All five BRICS economies appear to face difficulties in developing and benefiting from their digital potential.
  20. 20. To read detailed results and further analysis of the Networked Readiness Index, go to for the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2014