UAE remains region’s top player in ICT
The UAE continues to be the front runner in the Arab world in terms of networked readiness in World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016.
The country came at 26th position in the report which put Finland at the first place in the global rankings. Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States are other leading countries in the world when it comes to generating economic impact from investments in information and communications technologies (ICT).
The report said the UAE government is leading the way to greater digital connectivity (2nd in terms of government usage), providing a consistent vision for the sector and achieving success at promoting it (1st on both indicators).
“Individual usage has also further improved (19th, up one spot) especially in terms of mobile broadband subscriptions and households with Internet access, although other important ICT services are not yet widely available,” the report said adding that fixed broadband subscriptions were still 11.6 per 100 people in 2014.
“Businesses’ adoption of and the economic impacts of ICTs have been improving in recent years, but a gap still exists with most advanced economies in this area. Patent activity, both general and ICT-related, remains relatively low,” said WEF in the report.
Qatar (27) followed the UAE on the networked readiness index while other major players in the region, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were placed at 32nd and 33rd places respectively. Meanwhile, Kuwait ranked at 61st, jumping 11 places on the previous list.
The report also found that businesses and governments were missing out on a rapidly growing digital population. It said that digital innovation has been largely driven by consumer demand in recent years. Despite the increasing demand for digital products and services by a global consumer base, only a small number of companies were able to meet the demand.
“Businesses need to act now and adopt digital technologies to capture their part of this growing pie. A widening and worrying gap is also emerging between growth in individual ICT usage and public sector engagement in the digital economy, as government usage is increasingly falling short of expectations. Governments can do more to invest in innovative digital solutions to drive social impact,” the report added.