UAE leads other Arab states in ICT development
Country ranked 29th globally in International Telecommunication Union report
A new report by the International Telecommunication Union that aims to ‘measure' the global information society using ICT rankings sees the United Arab Emirates lead other Arab states with a worldwide rank of 29.
159 countries are rated using an ICT Development Index (IDI), which combines 11 indicators for ICT access, use and skills, with 2007 and 2008 scores compared in the latest report.
The top ten 2008 IDI countries are (in order of their ranks) Sweden, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Topping the list of Arab States, the United Arab Emirates (ranked 29th overall) is said to have "experienced a large value increase as a result of strong performance in both ICT access and use. Furthermore, it was the first country to surpass the 200 percent mobile cellular penetration mark in 2008." Ranks of other Arab states include Bahrain at 33, Qatar at 45, Saudi Arabia at 52 and Kuwait at 65.
The report adds that growth in the UAE ICT market has partly been driven by strong demand for ICT products, with household access to ICTs and the number of internet users per 100 inhabitants increasing significantly between 2007 and 2008.
The UAE was also identified as one of the top ten economies with the "lowest relative prices for fixed lines" along with Belarus, Singapore, Iran, Kuwait, the Republic of Korea and the United States.
The latest results from ITU show that all 159 countries included in the index improved their scores with mobiles continuing to be a key driver of growth and reflecting an overall transition to a global information society.
"The report confirms that despite the recent economic downturn, the use of ICT services has continued to grow worldwide," said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). All 159 countries included in the IDI have improved their ICT levels, and mobile cellular technology continues to be a key driver of growth. In 2010, ITU expects the global number of mobile cellular subscriptions to top five billion. "At the same time, the report finds that the price of telecommunication services is falling - a most encouraging development," added Al Basheer.
At the end of 2009, there were an estimated 4.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, which relates to 67 per 100 inhabitants globally. Also, an estimated 26% of the world’s population (or 1.7 billion people) were using the internet.