Singapore is the best prepared country in the world for the new digital economy.
On Wednesday 6 July 2016 the World Economic Forum published its Networked Readiness Index and for second year in a row, Singapore ranks highest as the most digital-savvy country in the world.
Finland, Sweden, and Norway hold the second, third and fourth place spots, while Denmark is ranked as number 11 on the index list.
The World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index is a key indicator of how countries are doing in the digital world. It measures how well an economy is using information and communications technologies to boost competitiveness and well-being.
To a large extent, the ranking is the result of a strong government committed to the digital agenda:
- In Singapore, gains from information technology are extensively shared. Singapore is known for using digital technologies to provide access to basic and government services, and ensure that schools are connected.
- Finland, ranking number two at the index, has amazingly great access to the latest technologies as well as venture capital, and its businesses are highly connected.
- Norway, being third country leading in digital readiness, has risen since last year and now places ahead of the United States.
“Governments or businesses are not leveraging digital technology sufficiently,” said Margareta Drzeniek-Hanouz, lead economist at World Economic Forum. She explains why Singapore tops the ranking; “You can be small and be open by connecting to the world and making (digital investment) a priority for the country, and this is what Singapore has done. Singapore has put into place a very strong government strategy to promote information and communications technology in terms of skills, infrastructure, business usage and individual usage. This coherent approach to really pushing it forward was what made it a success,” she said.
Developing nations could benefit by providing affordable access to technology, she said, noting how some are exploring new business models to “leapfrog” the internet into mobile telephone payment systems, for example.
And why is being digital ready this important?
“The digital economy is an essential part of the architecture of the fourth industrial revolution,” says Richard Samans, head of the center for the global agenda at the World Economic Forum.
“In order for digital technology to continue contributing economic and social impact, societies need to anticipate its effects on markets and to ensure a fair deal for workers in digitized market environments,” he said.
The world is changing fast. We are at the dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which will bring together digital, biological and physical technologies in new and powerful combinations.
In the index, there are two other Asian countries in the top 10: South Korea and Malaysia. Three Arab nations feature: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar. The European Union is represented by Estonia, Luxembourg and the UK, while the United States government does not appear anywhere in the top 10.