Impact of Digital Economy Varies Widely Throughout the World

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A country’s ability to take advantage of information and communications technology in order to increase its competitiveness and well-being depends on its readiness quickly to implement and adopt new technologies as they appear. The World Economic Forum identifies this ability as network readiness, and in its 2016 “Global Information Technology Report” calculated a network readiness index (NRI) for 139 countries based on a country’s “preparedness to reap the benefits of emerging technologies and capitalize on the opportunities presented by the digital transformation and beyond.”

The index aggregates data from 53 indicators, organized on the basis of a networked readiness framework that incorporates four drivers, or subindexes:

  • Environment subindex comprising political, regulatory, business and innovation environments
  • Readiness subindex comprising infrastructure, affordability and skills
  • Usage subindex comprising individual, business, and government usage
  • Impact subindex comprising economic and social impacts

Developed countries where citizens enjoy high-incomes dominate the top of the list. This group is known as the “Advanced Economies” and includes 34 of 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member nations in the top 50 nations (the exception is Mexico, ranked 76th).

Of the 32 nations categorized as Sub-Saharan Africa, 31 are among the bottom 39 ranked countries and just one, Mauritius in 49th, breaks into the top 50. This group dominates the bottom third of the list.

In between the top and bottom groups reside the world’s two largest developing nations, China at 59th and India at 91st. This middle group is dominated by Latin American and Asian nations that are often characterized as developing nations.

A few more highlights from the full report:

  • While the United States ranks fifth overall, the country’s ranking in internet bandwidth per user dropped from 34th in 2013 to 42nd this year.
  • Among the most improved since the 2015 report are the Slovak Republic (up 12 places in the rankings), Kuwait (up 11 places) and Italy (up 10 places).
  • The United Kingdom ranks first globally in using the internet to interact with consumers (B2C) and second in business-to-business (B2B) interactions.

The report concludes:

[I]ndividual adoption is growing steadily across the globe as efforts continue to close the digital divide. Business executives are optimistic about their countries’ growing innovation capacities, yet the digital innovation impact is so far coming through much more strongly in some countries than in others—the gap between seven digital front runners and the followers is wide.

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The following list shows the ranking of all 139 countries in the report.

  1. Singapore
  2. Finland
  3. Sweden
  4. Norway
  5. United States
  6. Netherlands
  7. Switzerland
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Luxembourg
  10. Japan
  11. Denmark
  12. Hong Kong SAR
  13. Korea, Rep.
  14. Canada
  15. Germany
  16. Iceland
  17. New Zealand
  18. Australia
  19. Chinese Taipei
  20. Austria
  21. Israel
  22. Estonia
  23. Belgium
  24. France
  25. Ireland
  26. United Arab Emirates
  27. Qatar
  28. Bahrain
  29. Lithuania
  30. Portugal
  31. Malaysia
  32. Latvia
  33. Saudi Arabia
  34. Malta
  35. Spain
  36. Czech Republic
  37. Slovenia
  38. Chile
  39. Kazakhstan
  40. Cyprus
  41. Russian Federation
  42. Poland
  43. Uruguay
  44. Costa Rica
  45. Italy
  46. Macedonia, FYR
  47. Slovak Republic
  48. Turkey
  49. Mauritius
  50. Hungary
  51. Montenegro
  52. Oman
  53. Azerbaijan
  54. Croatia
  55. Panama
  56. Armenia
  57. Mongolia
  58. Georgia
  59. China
  60. Jordan
  61. Kuwait
  62. Thailand
  63. Sri Lanka
  64. Ukraine
  65. South Africa
  66. Romania
  67. Trinidad and Tobago
  68. Colombia
  69. Bulgaria
  70. Greece
  71. Moldova
  72. Brazil
  73. Indonesia
  74. Seychelles
  75. Serbia
  76. Mexico
  77. Philippines
  78. Morocco
  79. Vietnam
  80. Rwanda
  81. Tunisia
  82. Ecuador
  83. Jamaica
  84. Albania
  85. Cape Verde
  86. Kenya
  87. Bhutan
  88. Lebanon
  89. Argentina
  90. Peru
  91. India
  92. Iran, Islamic Rep.
  93. El Salvador
  94. Honduras
  95. Kyrgyz Republic
  96. Egypt
  97. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  98. Dominican Republic
  99. Namibia
  100. Guyana
  101. Botswana
  102. Ghana
  103. Guatemala
  104. Lao PDR
  105. Paraguay
  106. Côte d’Ivoire
  107. Senegal
  108. Venezuela
  109. Cambodia
  110. Pakistan
  111. Bolivia
  112. Bangladesh
  113. Gambia, The
  114. Tajikistan
  115. Lesotho
  116. Zambia
  117. Algeria
  118. Nepal
  119. Nigeria
  120. Ethiopia
  121. Uganda
  122. Zimbabwe
  123. Mozambique
  124. Cameroon
  125. Gabon
  126. Tanzania
  127. Mali
  128. Benin
  129. Swaziland
  130. Liberia
  131. Nicaragua
  132. Malawi
  133. Myanmar
  134. Guinea
  135. Madagascar
  136. Mauritania
  137. Haiti
  138. Burundi
  139. Chad