UAE leads the Middle East in ICT readiness

Global Information Technology Report from World Economic Forum shows Middle East taking lead among emerging economies

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By  Sean Robson Published  May 6, 2008

The UAE continues to lead the Middle East's information and communication technology (ICT) readiness index at 29th place, even as other countries in the region moved up, according to the Global Information Technology Report (GITR).

The big movers in the rankings were Qatar and Kuwait both of which jumped up four places to occupy 32nd and 52nd place respectively, while Bahrain moved into the top 50 for the first time coming in at 45th.

Announcing the results on Monday, Professor Soumitra Dutta, one of the co-authors of the report, which was a joint study by the World Economic Forum and leading business school INSEAD, said: "The e-government initiatives of the UAE and its overall investment in the ICT sector have been recognised as the drivers for the country's leading position among its Middle Eastern peer economies."

The report states that Jordan showed the most marked improvement with a massive eleven step rise to 47th place. Saudi Arabia and Oman entered the ranking for the first time at 48th and 53rd place respectively. In terms of internet penetration and network readiness the region saw a massive 600% improvement leaving the rest of the world in its wake.

Dutta pointed out that taken in conjunction with the report's placement of India and China in 50th and 57th place respectively, the magnitude of the UAE's performance in specific, and the region's as a whole, becomes even more remarkable.

As per the report the Middle East region demonstrates an increased willingness to leverage ICT for competitiveness. The Gulf States in particular are placing continued emphasis on the role of ICT in national development and as a developing business sector.

"The Middle East has made the single biggest upward move in technological competitiveness spearheaded by the GCC's rapid economic growth as well as the vision of some of the Gulf States that are gradually diversifying their revenue streams towards knowledge-based marketplaces," said Dutta.

The GITR report has grown since its inception seven years ago and now encompasses 127 countries with data gathered consistently on a both qualitative and quantitative scale. Qualitative data is gathered through an Executive Opinion Survey which is conducted annually by the World Economic Forum in all the economies covered in the report. The rest of the data which is more quantitative in nature emerges from international organisations like the World Bank and the United Nations.

Top ten countries on this year’s ICT readiness index

  1. Denmark
  2. Sweden
  3. Switzerland
  4. United States
  5. Singapore
  6. Finland
  7. Netherlands
  8. Iceland
  9. Korea
  10. Norway

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