South Africa’s digital economy a top global mover in Networked Readiness Index

2 August 2016

South Africa’s digital economy has jumped to 65th out of 139 countries
surveyed in the Networked Readiness Index, an gain in 10 places from 2015. This
makes South Africa one of 10 most-improved countries, alongside Italy and
Slovakia.

The index, compiled by the Global Technology Report and published by the
World Economic Forum, is a key indicator of how countries are doing in the digital
world. It measures how well a country uses information and communications
technologies to boost the health of its economy.

The index analyses environment, readiness, use and impact data. It also takes
social influences on the creation of a digital economy into account.

The global top 10 is led by Singapore, Finland and Sweden. The US is fifth, the
UK eighth and Japan tenth.

South Africa is not the only African country to improve
in the last year. Ethiopia
and Côte d’Ivoire also made significant jumps in the rankings.

South Africa’s leap in the rankings was driven by the private sector, and by
upgrades to digital infrastructure and affordability, according to the report.

“South Africa’s digital transformation is mostly business driven, as the country
notably performs best in business usage (32nd), followed by individual usage
(77th), followed by government usage (105th),” says networking firm Cisco, a
sponsor of the report.

“Individuals and businesses, says the index, are benefitting from a drop in
mobile and broadband tariffs that is “reducing barriers to adoption also in terms of
affordability.”

However, the report stresses that more sustained infrastructure development,
as well as more public and private cooperation, are needed to take advantage of
South Africa’s momentum in the digital economy. “In order for the impact to start
materialising, significantly more
buy-in from government will be needed across all
areas of vision, promotion and efficient use.”

Southafrica.info reporter

Source: World Economic Forum

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