Daily Management Review

WEF report highlights digital divide amongst world powers


World Economic Forum has released a new report highlighting that many developing countries are not fully utilizing the advantages of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

The Global Information Technology Report 2015 finds that digital divide is growing within and across countries, with the full economic and social benefits of the internet only available to a minority of the world’s population. The report points out Singapore as a model nation which is network-ready. In the Top 10, United States and Japan are the other two non-European nations.

The report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures 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. According to the report, only 39% of the global population enjoys access to the internet despite the fact that more than half now owns a mobile phone.

Singapore has topped the report pushing Finland to the second level which was the leader for last two consecutive years. United States is at 7th position followed by the United Kingdom while Germany lost one position and to get the 13th position.

The Russian Federation is the highest-placed BRICS nation, climbing nine places in 2015 to 41st. On the trend, Soumitra Dutta, one of the editors of the report noted: “The report shows that the digital divide across nations is increasing and this is of great concern, given the relentless pace of technological development. Less developed nations risk being left further behind and concrete actions are needed urgently to address this.”

Some countries that have made considerable improvements include Armenia (58th) and Georgia (60th) while the UAE (23rd), El Salvador (80th), Macedonia FYR (47th), Mauritius (45th) and Latvia (33rd) also improved significantly during the same period.

The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) has been published from 2001 to assess on an annual basis the factors, policies and institutions that enable a country to leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) for shared prosperity. Environment, readiness, usage and impacts are the four factors on which the Index is based. 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.