Qatar has scored high in several segments in the ‘Global Information Technology Report (GITR) 2012: Living in a Hyperconnected World,’ released by the World Economic Forum yesterday.
Ranked second among the GCC countries in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), Qatar is 28th in the world. Bahrain tops the Gulf countries at 27th position in the NRI which has Sweden as global number one. The NRI measures the degree to which economies across the world leverage ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) for enhanced competitiveness.
Qatar has won the world number one position in venture capital availability, government procurement of advanced technology, and mobile network coverage with a 100% reach of the population. Qatar is global number two in importance of ICT to government vision, impact of ICT on access to basic services, ICT use and government efficiency, and business and innovation environment.
The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with INSEAD Business School, launched the GITR project (which celebrated the 10th anniversary last year) to explore the impact of ICT on productivity and development, as a component of the Forum’s research on competitiveness.
Apart from Bahrain and Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman have also found a slot in the top 40 of the NRI, with the ranks of 30, 34 and 40, respectively.
On the other hand, countries in the Levant and North Africa still lag behind and face important challenges to fully leverage ICT. Jordan ranked (47), Tunisia (50), Egypt (79), Lebanon (95), Morocco (91), Algeria (118), and Syria (129).
Though Qatar has slipped three positions in 2012, after steadily gaining ranks between 2007 and 2011, the country’s investment in world-class telecom infrastructure, such as a National Broadband Network, combined with strong economic, diversification, and innovation underpinnings would uniquely position the country to compete for regional leadership.
“Qatar has aggressive plans to grow its ICT sector at 10% annually by 2017, with the provision of the right business and operational environments and policy initiatives, thus contributing to a successful economic diversification and stimulating growth opportunities across other sectors through economic linkages effects,” Booz & Company has said.
It has been pointed out that in general, elevation of ICT on the national competitiveness agenda coupled with a disciplined approach to national ICT plans execution and impact monitoring translate into stronger economic and social impacts.
“Digitisation has contributed $27bn in economic growth for the MENA region between 2007 and 2010 and generated 1.3mn jobs in the same period,” said Karim Sabbagh (pictured), senior partner and global head of Communication, Media and Technology Practice at Booz & Company.
“With the right efforts and ICT capabilities systems in place, it has the potential to continue doing so in the future, generating $30bn in economic growth and creating an addition one million jobs over the next three years, in a part of the world that needs them urgently,” he explained.
“The NRI has been adopted by several governments as a valuable tool for assessing and leveraging technology for competitiveness and development,” said Soumitra Dutta, Professor of Business and Technology at INSEAD, a co-editor of the report.
“To measure this impact effectively, we have introduced a new set of impact-oriented metrics this year that assess not just the availability of technology, but also the ways in which economies put that technology to greater use. Considering how ICT has become omnipresent, the focus has moved from access to making the best use of ICT in order to improve business innovation, governance, citizens’ political participation and social cohesion,” he added.
The NRI uses a combination of data from publicly available sources and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the Forum in collaboration with partner institutes, a network of over 150 leading research institutes and business organisations. This survey of over 15,000 executives provides insight into areas critical for networked readiness.
Booz & Company, a long-standing partner of the World Economic Forum and INSEAD and partner of this year’s GITR, has recommended five priorities for policymakers to accelerate digitisation and maximise its socio-economic impact.
source: Gulf Times
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