The annual Global Information Technology Report of the World Economic Forum, just released, has hoisted a cautionary signal about the diminishing priority accorded to IT-led development in India and the poor quality of her hard and soft infrastructure …factors that have led to the country slipping five places to # 48, in WEF’S Networked Readiness Index.
There are a few positives: “Notwithstanding widespread red tape and distortive taxes, the market environment is assessed rather positively at 41st, thanks to a sophisticated financial market, well developed clusters, and widespread availability of new technologies. Also competition and low telephony costs are a boost to India’s readiness (33rd). The country ranks an impressive 21st for its level of individual readiness and 33rd for that of businesses. Government readiness is still high (47th)”
The report finds: “China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam have been among the fastest improving economies since 2006” – suggesting that size does not matter, only national will does.
We bring you a link to the full report as well as extracts from the executive summary of the report, jointly edited by Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Business and Technology one of the world’s largest international business schools, INSEAD – and Irene Mia of the WEF; including the India and China paragraphs in full. We also provide the top ten rankings as well those of India and her neighbours. Interestingly the US comes fifth after Sweden, Singapore, Finland and Switzerland. China leads all others BRICS countries – Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011 highlights the key role of ICT as an enabler of a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable world. As ICT continues to drive innovation, productivity, and efficiency gains across industries as well as to improve citizens’ daily lives, The Global Information Technology Report 2010–2011 takes a forward look on occasion of the 10th anniversary of its publication. Rather than focusing on the major economic, political, and social transformations enabled by ICT over recent years, the Report tries to imagine the new wave of transformations—transformations 2.0. Collecting the insights of practitioners, academics, and industry experts, the Report explores the ways in which ICT will further revolutionize the way social stakeholders work, interact, and conduct their lives, businesses, and transactions.
There is no area on the globe that has an inherent advantage in the digital economy. The rankings are based on those countries it believes are making the best use of new technologies and high-speed networks, and it also measures the percentage of households with PCs, the percentage of mobile devices with data access, political environment, and so on.
Over the last decade, ICT in its many manifestations become truly ubiquitous. The mobile phone is now for many the omnipresent symbol of ICT in our lives. Today we live in a world where more people have access to ICT (usually a mobile phone) than to toilets or clean water or the electric grid. Although researchers and industry observers have documented the positive impact
of ICT diffusion on an economy’s GDP—estimates show that a 10 percent increase in mobile phone penetration is associated with a 1 percent growth in GDP1—wecontinue to be challenged by questions that were raised by John Gage of Sun Microsystems in the first edition of the GITR: “Can we apply ICT to improve the condition of each individual? Can ICT, designed for one-to- one links in telephone networks, or for one-to-many links in radio and television networks, serve to bond us all? And how can new forms of ICT—peer-to-peer, edge-to-edge, many-to-many networks—change the relationship between each one of us and all of us?”
These questions become particularly relevant given the important role played by ICT (in particular social media) during the recent political upheavals in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. Governments and public organizations are slowly realizing the power of ICT for redefining governance and providing new modes of engagement with citizens. However, institutional change
remains slow and hard. For ICT to be used effectively, technology needs to be matched to the local context and be sensitive to people’s needs. Doing all this is not easy. The first law of technological change mentioned by John Gage in the first edition of the GITR remains true
today: “Technology is easy. People are hard.”
The networked readiness framework: Preparing for the next decade
When the networked readiness framework was created, it represented one of the first attempts to make conceptual sense of the complex ICT reality, identifying the common factors enabling countries to effectively use technology. The framework was intended to provide guidance to policymakers and civil society on the factors that they needed to take into account to fully leverage ICT in their competitiveness and growth strategies. Based on the latest academic research, management literature, and ongoing work by other institutions and multilateral organizations on the subject,4 the networked readiness framework has been kept stable since 2002.
There have been some minor adjustments at the variable level to better reflect the dynamic trends in the technology landscape and in the methodology employed to compute the rankings.5 This has allowed for meaningful comparisons across time with the creation of a valuable database of technology metrics, providing unique insights for researchers as well as for decision makers in
the adoption of concrete policy decisions.
INDIA: Losing ground on most indicators and delivering an uneven performance, India is down five positions at 8th. India’s placement is dragged down by its poor marks in most education-related variables included in the NRI, and more generally by the poor quality of its soft and hard infrastructures (81st). On the other hand, notwithstanding widespread red tape and distortive taxes, the market environment is assessed rather positively at 41st, thanks to a sophisticated financial market, well developed clusters, and widespread availability of new technologies. Also competition and low telephony costs are a boost to India’s readiness (33rd). The country ranks an impressive 21st for its level of individual readiness and 33rd for that of businesses. Government readiness is still high (47th), but ICT seems to have become less of a priority since last year. Also individual usage is
improving, although from a very low base (98th, 11 places up from last year). While Internet access remains limited (0.65 and 5.12 per 100 population broadband Internet subscribers and Internet users, respectively, corresponding to a 100th and 118th position in the sample), mobile telephony has been growing exponentially as a result of strong demand, increased purchasing power, and also fierce competition and innovation that helped to improve network coverage and drive prices down. (Mia, I. 2010. Using Information and Communication Technologies to Boost India’s Competitiveness. Geneva: World Economic Forum.)
China consolidates its position in the rankings at 36th, after years of vibrant progression. It is by far the country that leverages ICT the most among the four BRICs, leading India, Brazil, and Russia by 12, 22,and 31 positions, respectively. Since 2006, China has leap-frogged 23 positions and features among the 10 most dynamic countries world wide. Yet, over the years, the country has failed to improve significantly in its environment component (57th), most notably its market environment (71st). Starting a business remains time consuming and burdensome; corporate taxation is among the highest in the world (120th); and freedom of the press, though improving, is still limited (99th
Ratings… the top ten and a few others:
Country / Economy Rank/ Score
Sweden 1 5.60 Singapore 2 5.59
Finland 3 5.43
Switzerland 4 5.33
United States 5 5.33
Taiwan, China 6 5.30
Denmark 7 5.29
Canada 8 5.21
Norway 9 5.21
Korea, Rep. 10 5.19
Japan 19 4.95
France 20 4.92
China 36 4.35
India 48 4.03
Sri Lanka 66 3.81
Pakistan 88 3.54
Bangla Desh 115 3.19
Link to full report in PDF The Global Information Technology Report 2010–2011: Transformations 2.0; 10th Anniversary Edition/ Editors: Soumitra Dutta, INSEAD & Irene Mia, World Economic Forum http://reports.weforum.org/global-information-technology-report/content/pdf/wef-gitr-2010-2011.pdf
Link to WEF home page on global IT: http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-information-technology/the-great-transformation
April 15 2011