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Study: Digital technologies shaping global recovery

December 3, 2021

The latest results and rankings of the Network Readiness Index (NRI) have been released by the Portulans Institute, revealing how countries around the world are leveraging information technologies to emerge from the Covid pandemic and become ‘network ready’.

The latest edition – the third compiled by the Portulans Institute since taking over the Index from the World Economic Forum in 2019 – ranks a total of 130 global economies based on their performance across 60 variables. STL, the industry leading integrator of digital networks, is the NRI’s official knowledge partner.

Key takeaways:

Europe the most ‘network ready’

The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are named as the top three most ‘network ready’ societies. This makes Europe (with eight countries in the global top ten) the best performing global region on the Index.

US and China leading the way in tech

The US remains the global leader when it comes to technology; ranking in the top five in each of the Technology sub-pillars (Access, Content, Future Technologies). China, meanwhile, is a leading player in areas such as artificial intelligence, e-commerce and 5G, but only ranks #29 overall.

India is a rising star

Among the world’s largest economies, India was notable for rising places 21 places compared to last year’s ranking, rising to #67. This performance, beyond technical aspects, captures India’s digital network accessibility, including the affordability of mobile devices and tariffs in the country.

Pandemic sees Africa fall further behind

Africa continues to trail other regions, especially when it comes to access, affordability, and usage of ICTs. The pandemic has further amplified inequalities through recognisable social, economic and political changes, which became particularly evident in terms of vaccination and debt-financing.

Soumitra Dutta, co-founder and president, Portulans Institute, commented: “The Covid pandemic has been a global tipping point in the adoption of technology. It arrived at a time when many digital technologies had reached a degree of maturity, allowing them to be deployed on a large scale rapidly. This report measures the impact of this accelerated digital transformation on governments, businesses, and individuals.”

Bruno Lanvin, co-founder and director, Portulans Institute, added: “A strong recovery is now taking place in many parts of the world, and digitisation will be one of its core drivers. However, several factors could derail the recovery train, including a lack of digital talents and skills, and a possible resurgence of the digital divide between rich and poor countries. Technology can help us avoid a ‘K-shaped recovery’, but this requires immediate and coordinated efforts in three key areas: infrastructure, education, and governance.”

Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, STL, said: “With the world migrating to digital faster than ever, networks are at the center of the world’s socio-economic development. This year’s NRI report reflects how countries have embraced digital transformation and lays out a roadmap for economies to accelerate their digital journeys. STL is excited to partner with the Portulans Institute for this initiative as we believe network readiness is the cornerstone for achieving global growth, while transforming billions of lives.”

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