Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » Study identifies 8 ‘digital elites’ of economic world

A new research unveils the eight stand-out digital economies of 2017, pointing out that they have the edge in further advancement and increased competitiveness in the technological age.

Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel have been named the “digital elites” in the “Digital Evolution Index 2017,” conducted by U.S. graduate school Fletcher School at Tufts University and online payment company Mastercard.

These stand-out economies “demonstrate high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth” and “exemplify the sweet spot of advancement and future growth,” the index said.

The research maps the development of 60 countries, demonstrating their competitiveness and market potential for further digital economic growth. It measures four key drivers and 170 unique indicators to chart each country’s course.

These drivers are supply (or internet access and infrastructure); consumer demand for digital technologies; institutional environment (government policies/laws and resources); and innovation (investments into R&D and digital start-ups, etc.).

According to their overall digital evolution scores, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, Hong Kong, and the U.S. make the top ten list of advanced digital economies.

But the report said that given the current pace of innovation and change, being an advanced digital economy today doesn’t guarantee that status tomorrow. “How open and supportive they are to innovation helps determine their future growth potential,” it said.

In addition to the stand-out economies, the report identified countries in the “stall out” category, which are those “with a history of strong growth but their momentum is slowing.” These include many developed countries in Western Europe, the Nordic countries, Australia, and South Korea. Without further innovation, they are at risk of falling behind, said the report.

Meanwhile, dubbed the break-out group includes China, Kenya, Russia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico Though still at relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, these countries exhibit breakout potential and showcase the fastest momentum. They are deemed poised for growth and attractive to investors.

On the other hand, South Africa, Peru, Egypt, Greece, and Pakistan are among those in the “watch out” set. They face significant challenges, constrained both by low levels of digital advancement and a slow pace of growth.

The report underscores the key role of governments and the importance of trust and security in promoting digital growth.

“Adoption, the quality of digital infrastructure and institutions, and innovation collectively shape a country’s digital competitiveness, but governments also play a key role,” it said.

The report also found that consumers’ trust in digital technologies “correlates with digital competitiveness.” Said the report, “In our pursuit of a truly connected world, trust and security are critical to successful digital development.”

Further, governments and businesses are considered the guarantors of trust, and are charged with facilitating trust among their citizens and consumers. The findings demonstrate that trust is critical to digital competitiveness, and that countries can only go so far without it.

The “Digital Evolution Index 2017” comes three years after the first edition was launched in 2014.

Photo: Sharshar

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