The 2005 e-readiness rankings


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Original name: The 2005 e-readiness rankings

Type of work: White Paper




Executive summary:

The past year was perhaps the first since the technology bubble burst that the global economy has felt comfortable in a digital skin. Spending on ICT showed renewed buoyancy in developed markets, while in emerging markets growth and connectivity-individuals’ and organisations’ access to voice and data communications-continued on a rapid ascent.

Our e-readiness ranking measure a country’s accumulated telecoms and computer infrastructure. The criteria we use also evolve with the infrastructure itself: this year we have increased the importance of broadband (both fixed and mobile), which is why many e-ready leaders have seen their ranking rise.

Denmark has retained the top position it gained in 2004, but the US, which last year fell to 6th place has recovered the number two position. Switzerland has climbed to 4th place owning to its steady growth in broadband. The UK has slipped to 5th place this year from 2nd place in 2004; it continues to enjoy high levels of connectivity and benefits from government commitment to achieving information society objectives, but education is one area where the UK is weaker than previously thought.

The e-readiness rankings continue to be a measure of the complete e-picture. In this holistic measurement, many markets fall short: there are some countries in which e-business plays an increasingly important role but not one big enough to transform large parts of their economy (yet). Collectively, India (49th) and China (54th) consume close to one-third of the world’s ICT investment, and both countries continue to attract the lions share of the world’s technology-earmarked foreign investment. Yet both countries continue to slide in terms of overall e-readiness (three places down in 2005 for India, two places for China), partly because the billions of dollars in ICT investment and revenue are tiny compared to their overall economy. Consider that the 22m broadband accounts in China-the world’s second-largest fast Internet subscriber base-do not even represent 2% population penetration.

This does not imply that those less e-ready countries will never get ahead; nor does it imply that they cannot be e-ready in their own fashion. As we suggested in last year’s report, and which is being proven every day, countries like India are profiting from a global arbitrage opportunity, supplying lower-cost information (IT)-enabled skills to their more wired peers. But it is our belief, borne out by global trends, that all the pieces-infrastructure, security, transparency, innovation and skills-must be properly interlaced to ensure e-readiness. In 2005 it appears that both fully and aspiring e-ready countries understand this.