UAE. The world’s developing and emerging economies are failing to fully exploit the potential of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to drive social and economic transformation and catch up with more advanced nations, according to the Global Information Technology Report 2015, co-published today by the World Economic Forum, INSEAD and Cornell University, with the support of Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company and CISCO.
Data from the report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which benchmarks 143 economies in terms of their capacity to prepare for, use and leverage ICTs, suggest that the gap between the best and worst performing economies is widening.
Those in the top 10% have seen twice the level of improvement since 2012 as those in the bottom 10%. This demonstrates the scale of the challenge facing developing and emerging nations as they seek to develop the infrastructure, institutions and skills needed to reap the full benefits of ICTs, as only 39% of the global population enjoys access to the internet despite the fact that more than half now owns a mobile phone.
The Network Readiness Index 2015 ranks three GCC countries in the top 30 list globally for the third consecutive year (United Arab Emirates – 23, Qatar – 27, Bahrain – 30), and another two (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 35, Oman – 42) in the top 50, demonstrating that they continue to embrace ICT to boost their national competitiveness.
In contrast, countries in the Levant and North Africa still lag behind and face challenges to fully leverage ICT, including Morocco (78), Egypt (94), Lebanon (99) and Algeria (120).
‘The UAE continues to play the role of regional leader, while increasing regularly its world ranking (25th in 2013, 24th in 2014, 23rd in 2015). Spectacular progress has been made in both in the environment pillar (business climate and regulatory environment in particular) as well as on the usage front (in which business innovation capacities have improved significantly). The UAE is also a typical example of how the growth of talents and skills is key to improving competitiveness, as the country has moved from a worldwide ranking of 33rd to 21st on that pillar, said Bruno Lanvin, co-editor of the report, Executive Director, Global Indices, INSEAD.
“GCC countries continue to perform well in the global ICT arena, with three countries in the global top 30 ” said Bahjat El Darwiche , Partner at Strategy&, and leader of the firm’s Communication, Media, and Technology practice in the Middle-East.
“However, opportunity exists for the region to enhance its ICT competitiveness. Several countries have slipped in the last year with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt all regressing by up to four ranks in the last year.”
In line with the digital inclusion emphasis of this year’s GITR, a large digital divide in the MENA region exists with three countries – Algeria, Libya and Yemen. All three rank in the bottom quartile globally, while most of the GCC countries rank among the top quartile globally.
“Currently, UAE leads in the region, while ranking in the top ten globally on three sub-pillars: Government Usage, Social Impact, and Business & Innovation environment”, added Milind Singh, Principal with Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company.
“Overall, UAE has achieved improved footing in seven of the ten sub-indices contributing to NRI rankings. However, UAE needs to continue on this positive trajectory to climb the ranks and lead among global ICT player”.
The Networked Readiness Index 2015 (Overall World ranking)
The UAE’s most significant strengths include Importance of ICTs to government’s vision (1), Mobile network coverage (1), Impact of ICTs on access to basic services (1), ICT use and government efficiency (1), Impact of ICTs on new services & products (2), Government success on ICT promotion (2) and Government procurement of advanced tech (2). Its most significant weakness includes number of procedures to enforce a contract (137), Internet & telephony competition (124) and Fixed broadband internet tariffs (120).
“ICTs hold the potential of transforming economies and societies. They can help address some of the most pressing issues of our time and support inclusive growth. The UAE government has a robust vision to develop ICTs as a key pillar to diversify the local economy. Growing inequalities are threatening the power of ICT to be a global engine for inclusive growth. The MENA region is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon, where the continued progress made by GCC countries is in stark contrast with the stagnation faced by Levant and North African countries”, added Lanvin.
Under the theme ICTs for Inclusive Growth, The Global Information Technology Report 2015 also features 10 essays from leading experts and practitioners that showcase solutions to allow everyone to benefit from and participate in the ICT revolution.
The report is the result of a partnership between the World Economic Forum, INSEAD and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. It benefits from the valuable support of Cisco and Strategy&.
The editors of the report are Soumitra Dutta, Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean and Professor of Management; Samuel Curtis, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University; Thierry Geiger, Senior Economist, World Economic Forum; and Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, Global Indices, INSEAD.
About the Networked Readiness Index
Since 2001, the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) assesses on an annual basis the factors, policies and institutions that enable a country to leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) for shared prosperity. This assessment is based on an aggregation of 53 individual indicators grouped in four main components: environment, readiness, usage and impacts. The individual indicators use a combination of data from publicly available sources and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a global survey of 13,000 business executives conducted by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with its network of 160 Partner Institutes.
Read the full report here: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_IT_Report_2015.pdf
Access infographics, analysis, heatmap and more: http://wef.ch/gitr15
The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship.
It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
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