Posted on April 18, 2011

Qatar has continued its advance towards being one of the most networked ready-nations in the world according to the recently released Global Information and Technology Report 2010-2011, Transformations 2.0 (GITR). In the report s Networked Readiness Index, Qatar currently ranks 25 in the world out of 138 developed and developing countries, rising five places from 30th in the 2009-2010 report. These countries account for 98 percent of global GDP.

Qatar's strongest area of performance was overall readiness to use ICT, ranking 4th in the world, with the government sector ranking second overall, individuals ranking 10th and businesses ranking 21st. The annual report, released by the World Economic Forum and INSEAD on April 13, 2011, is the world's most comprehensive international assessment of the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on nations' development and international competitiveness.  Networked readiness is the capacity of countries to fully benefit from new technologies in their economic competitiveness and in citizen s daily lives.

This Networked Readiness Index examines how prepared countries are to use ICT in three areas: general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; readiness of government, individuals, and businesses to use and benefit from ICT; and the actual usage of available ICT by these stakeholder groups. The report underscores that good education fundamentals, innovation, and wide ICT access are key to nations' social growth and economic competitiveness.

"The latest Global Information and Technology Report illustrates the how much progress Qatar has made in leveraging ICT to advance our economy and quality of life" said Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary General of ictQATAR. "Nonetheless, we know that much work remains to be done as we shift to a knowledge-based economy.   ictQATAR has ambitious plans to accelerate our efforts to build a next-generation communications infrastructure in the country, continue to create a market environment conducive to a thriving ICT sector, and empower our people with the ICT skills to thrive in the digital world," she added...

Qatar showed the greatest room for improvement in the area of ICT usage, ranking 34th overall. In overall environment   how conducive the country s market, infrastructure, and regulatory environment is to innovation and ICT development -- Qatar ranked 26th, with the ICT market environment ranking 10th.

The findings of GITR 2010-2011 are consistent with the findings if ictQATAR s recently released 2011 ICT Landscape report, which showed strong growth in overall ICT usage and penetration rates across the key sectors examined, including  households and individuals, government, business, healthcare, education, and tourism and sports, as well as of the ICT job market. The 2011 ICT Landscape report is a country-wide, survey-based ICT study on the overall progress of information and communication technology (ICT) penetration and utilization, and is a follow-up to the 2009 report, which served as a benchmark for tracking progress.

"Qatar s ICT Landscape 2011 report is a vital resource for ictQATAR as we work to identify gaps in usage and adoption, and tailor programs to address these areas. While the GITR findings are beneficial from a global perspective, the findings from our report give as local data that our project managers are using to track progress in key areas and establish realistic goals for the coming years," said Dr. Hessa.

The ICT Landscape Report found that a growing number of the country s households are embracing the Internet in 2010, 84 percent had access to the Internet, compared with 63 percent in 2008.  Broadband connectivity in households increased from 41 percent in 2008 to 70 percent in 2010. Beyond households, there is also high penetration of PCs, mobile phones, Internet, and broadband connectivity among government organizations, schools, universities, and tourism facilities in the country.

The ICT Landscape report also showed increased pervasiveness of ICT in the business sector, yet business entities in Qatar, especially small businesses, still trail regional and international benchmark countries and thus need to further ramp up ICT penetration rates. The government sector is leading the way compared to the other sectors in Qatar, with strong penetration levels in terms of PC, Internet connectivity, broadband connectivity, LAN connectivity, and organizational web presence. In 2010, all core government ministries, councils, and authorities in the country were utilizing PCs, broadband Internet, and LAN network connectivity, as well as maintaining dedicated websites.