A report by the World Economic Forum finds technologically savvy countries are coming out ahead economically and in societal development. This year’s Global Information Technology Report says Singapore tops the list of 139 ranked countries, followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the United States. Burundi and Chad rank at the bottom.
Costa Rica was ranked 44th between Uruguay and Italy. But the country was put in 124th place for the effectiveness of its law-making bodies and 117th place for the number of days to enforce a contract. The country also received low rankings on the top corporate tax rate, the number of procedures to start a business and venture capital availability. The study uses several dozen indexes.
The report found seven countries, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States, are leading the world in getting the most economic impact from investments in information and communications technologies.
It says this group of high-achieving economies is doing 33 percent better than other advanced economies and 100 percent better than emerging and developing economies. It says a supportive, enabling environment is critical for success.
The report finds countries that are benefiting most from the digital technologies have quality infrastructure, good business regulations and a ready skills supply.
The study that led to the report assesses the factors, policies and institutions that enable a country to fully leverage information and communication technologies for increased competitiveness and well-being, said the Forum.
World Economic Forum Spokesman Oliver Cann says consumers, rather than businesses and governments are driving the digital revolution.
“We are finding a very laggard contribution, especially from government, which has stagnated over the past few years. I am taking a global view here, there are obviously exceptions. And also business as well. We all think global business is driving ahead, but actually they could be doing a lot more. On the other hand . . . I think the consumer and consumer uptake of the Internet is really far exceeding the contributions and the efforts of governments and business,” Cann says.
The report finds Europe remains at the technology frontier, with seven of the top-ranked countries coming from that region.
The report says the digital divide is widening between rich and poor countries due in large part to a yawning gap in infrastructure, such as high-speed internet. It said that innovation is almost negligible in Latin America and the Caribbean, where regulatory reforms seem to have come to a standstill in many countries.
The authors say infrastructure is not the only factor leading to economic growth, but it is a major factor in holding back less developed economies in the digital age.