[bestbits] NEW - WEF Report on Digital Divide and ICT Readyness
carolina.rossini at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 10:04:06 EDT 2016
Seven Countries Emerging as Frontrunners in the Fourth IndustrialRevolution
- The World Economic Forum’s *Global Information Technology Report
seven countries are excelling when it comes to economically benefiting from
investments in information and communications technologies
- Worldwide, the report finds nations’ capacity to innovate is
increasing across the board, although few have been successful so far in
translating these investments into meaningful economic or social impact
- Singapore leads the report’s Networked Readiness Index, followed
by Finland, Sweden, Norway and the United States
- Download the report here <http://wef.ch/gitr16>
Geneva, 6 July 2016 – Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the
Netherlands and the United States are leading the world when it comes to
generating economic impact from investments in information and
communications technologies (ICT), according to the World Economic
Information Technology Report* *2016,* which is published today.
On average, this group of high-achieving economies at the pinnacle of the
report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI)* economic impact* pillar scores
33% higher than other advanced economies and 100% more than emerging and
developing economies. The seven are all known for being early and
enthusiastic adopters of ICT and their emergence is significant as it
demonstrates that adoption of ICTs – coupled with a supportive enabling
environment characterized by sound regulation, quality infrastructure and
ready skills supply among other factors – can pave the way to wider
The breakaway of these seven economies is significant for other nations
given the role that networked readiness is likely to play as the world
transitions to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The *Global Information
Technology Report**2016* finds high levels of confidence among business
leaders that capacity to innovate is increasing, which suggests that other
nations, too, could start to see more economic and social impact from ICT.
However, on a cautionary note, the NRI data also suggest that individuals
are driving ICT adoption much more enthusiastically than either governments
or business, where no clear trends are discernible across regions since
*Who leads the Networked Readiness Index in 2016?*
The 2016 edition of the NRI finds Singapore as the highest-placed country
in the world when it comes to networked readiness. Finland, which topped
the ranking in 2014, remains in second place for a second year in a row,
followed by Sweden (3rd), Norway (4th) and the United States (5th), which
climbed two places. Making up the rest of the top 10 are the Netherlands,
Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Japan.
While the upper echelons of the NRI continue to reflect a strong
correlation between networked readiness and per capita income, roughly 75%
of the countries included in this year’s index show a score improvement in
2016. However, convergence both at the global and regional level remains
elusive, with four regions – Eurasia, Emerging Europe, the Middle East,
North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP) group, and sub-Saharan Africa – having
widened the gap between the most and least networked-ready since 2012.
Elsewhere in the NRI, of the large emerging markets, Russia remains
unchanged at 41st position. China comes next, moving up 3 places to 59th.
South Africa improves markedly, climbing 10 places to 65th, while Brazil
partially recovers from a previous downward trend to 72nd this year and
India drops two places to 91st.
Europe remains at the technology frontier; seven of the top 10 NRI
countries are European. Yet the performance range is wide, with Greece
dropping four places to 70th position and Bosnia and Herzegovina closing
the group at 97. Several Eastern European countries, notably the Slovak
Republic, Poland and the Czech Republic, are making big strides, landing
spots in the NRI top 50. Better affordability and large improvements in
economic and social impacts are making major contributions to this success.
Italy is another notable mover this year, improving 10 places to 45th
position as the economic and social impacts of ICT are starting to be
realized (up 18 in the global impact ranking).
The Eurasia region continues its upward trajectory, with the average NRI
for the region increasing significantly since 2012. In particular, it is
notable that the improvement is observed across all four elements that make
up the index: environment, readiness, usage and impact. The region is led
by Kazakhstan, which continues on its positive trajectory of recent years
to land in 39th position.
Malaysia leads the Emerging Asian economies in 2016 and moves up one spot
to 31st position overall. The country continues to perform strongly,
supported by a government which is fully committed to the digital agenda.
The top five in the region in terms of overall ICT readiness remain
Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, China and Sri Lanka as in 2015. The group of
Emerging Asian countries has been moving up and converging since 2012.
Individual usage in the region is still one of the lowest in the world, but
has been growing strongly in recent years.
The performance range by countries in the Latin America and Caribbean
region remains widely dispersed with almost 100 places between Chile (38th)
and Haiti (137th). There was no clear trend from 2015 to 2016 in terms of
relative performance, with Chile and Haiti staying put and, of the
remaining group, half of the countries improving their ranking and the
other half dropping. Considering the absolute NRI score, however, the
region has been moving up and converging since 2012. In order to foster the
innovation forces that are key for thriving in the digitized world and the
emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution, many governments in the region will
urgently need to reinforce efforts to improve their regulatory and
The United Arab Emirates (26th) and Qatar (27th) continue to lead the Arab
world in networked-readiness. In addition, the MENAP region (Middle East,
North Africa and Pakistan) is home to two of the biggest movers in this
year’s ranking: Kuwait (61st, up 11) and Lebanon (88th, up 11). In both
cases, individuals are leading the charge, with the business sector
catching up and strongly contributing to the successful performance. While
governments are lagging behind in terms of digital adoption (Kuwait, 81st;
Lebanon, 124th), the business community in both countries is registering an
increased weight on ICT in government vision and efforts to improve the
The NRI also sees several sub-Saharan African countries among the top
upward movers, including South Africa (65th, up 10), Ethiopia (120th, up
10) and Côte d’Ivoire (106th, up 9). Leadership, in terms of digital
adoption, is coming from different groups of stakeholders. While efforts
are very much government-driven in Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire, the business
sector is providing the most momentum in South Africa. The largest barriers
to tackle for Côte d’Ivoire will be infrastructure and affordability;
reversing the trend of a deteriorating business and innovation environment
for South Africa; and boosting individual usage and skills for Ethiopia.
“The digital economy is an essential part of the architecture of the Fourth
Industrial Revolution. In order for digital technology to continue
contributing economic and social impact, societies need to anticipate its
effects on markets and to ensure a fair deal for workers in digitized
market environments. New models of governance will be key in this,” said
Richard Samans, Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda, Member of the
Managing Board, World Economic Forum Geneva.
“Cross-border data flows drive innovation and growth,” says Pastora Valero,
Vice President of Government Affairs, Cisco. “The countries and companies
innovating most prominently know that it is the free flow of ideas and
information, which leads to improvements in processes and products.
Initiatives to foster the free flow of data are crucial to supporting the
global nature of the data economy.”
“Measuring the economic and social impact of the digital economy is
important for making appropriate policy decisions in both developed and
developing economies. The Networked Readiness Index is a valuable tool for
helping public and private sector leaders in leveraging the potential of
technology.” – Soumitra Dutta, Cornell University.
‘ “Digital” is not just about technology. It is a state of mind, and the
source of new business models, new consumption patterns, new ways for
business and individuals to organize, produce, trade and innovate. In the
global game of digital innovation, the performance and progress made by
emerging economies such as Singapore, the United Arab Emirates or South
Africa for example are remarkable: they may hold the promise of even more
spectacular improvements in the ways digital technologies will be harnessed
to competitiveness, growth and social progress in the coming years.’ –
Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD.
“Going forward, it will be important to reinforce data gathering efforts in
order to more closely track the distributional impacts of the current
transformations. This will make it possible to shape the digital economy in
a way that delivers broad-based gains.” – Silja Baller, World Economic
What does the *Global Information Technology Report 2016* tell us about the
Fourth Industrial Revolution?
In addition to providing insights into countries’ performance in the
unfolding digital revolution, the report notes a number of trends across
ICT adoption in 2016:
- How much innovation is “digital”? As the global economy becomes
increasingly digitized so, it would seem, innovation is becoming much less
defined in a narrow technological sense. For example, while the report
finds business model innovation on the rise in more than 100 countries, it
also finds stagnation in the *Business Usage* pillar. This would suggest
that while innovation is a top priority for many businesses, they are still
missing out on opportunities for greater impact through ICT adoption.
- Patents are declining as a measure of innovative capacity: While the
minds of business executives around the world are increasingly focused on
innovation, traditional measures for innovation such as the number of
patents registered are telling a smaller and smaller part of the story.
This may be related to the fact that the current transformation is nurtured
by a different type of innovation, increasingly based on digital
technologies and on the new business models it allows.
- The ICT infrastructure gap remains a chronic challenge and is getting
wider: Of the 12 pillars of the report, infrastructure is the one where
improvement is least pronounced. Worse, since 2012 the lowest-ranked
countries have been reporting a deterioration in their infrastructure in
absolute terms. Infrastructure is a key determinant of a nation’s
ICT-readiness alongside affordability and skills, acting as a gateway to
increased usage and ultimately economic and social impact.
- Social impact needs new momentum in important areas but is picking up
overall: While the social impact pillar of the NRI has seen positive
change overall since 2012, most regions register a decline in one of its
important components, the *impact of ICT on government efficiency*.
Another important social impact indicator, *ICTs and access to basic
services, *is starting to recover in 2016 after years of decline. This
suggests that more people are feeling the benefits of online access to
healthcare, finance, insurance and other services. Social impacts on the
whole rose most strongly in the group of high-income countries over the
Notes to Editors
Read the report here: http://wef.ch/gitr16
Read the latest thought leadership: http://agenda.weforum.org
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*Carolina Rossini *
Vice President, International Policy and Strategy
+ 1 (617) 697 9389 | skype: carolrossini | @carolinarossini
PGP ID: 0xEC81015C
*PublicKnowledge* | @publicknowledge <https://twitter.com/publicknowledge>
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