The Republic maintained its position as the world's second most Infocomm Technology (ICT) ready country for the third consecutive year, according to the Global Information Technology Report (GITR), which was released yesterday.
The annual report for 2011-12 is prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and business school Insead. Covering 142 economies worldwide the report, which is in its 11th iteration, remains the most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on competitiveness and the well-being of nations. It ranks countries according to their strengths in a Networked Readiness Index (NRI).
Insead's Bruno Lanvin noted that the NRI measures the ability of economies to leverage ICT to boost competitiveness and well-being. Mr Lanvin, who is executive director of Insead's eLab for both Stockholm and Singapore, added that the NRI measures parameters such as the friendliness of the country's market and regulatory framework, the society's preparation to make good use of ICT and the economic and social impact accruing from ICT.
Sweden maintained its top position as the world's most networked ready nation while Finland held on to its No 3 position. Denmark went up three places to No 4, displacing Switzerland to No 5. Among the Asia-Pacific countries, Taiwan came in at No 11 in the NRI list, South Korea was at No 12 followed by Hong Kong at No 13. These three, along with Singapore formed the four topmost network ready nations in Asia Pacific.
The report observed that Singapore is regarded as one of the most successful economies in the world to leverage ICT readiness, leading in the NRI pillars of Political and Regulatory Environment, Business and Innovation Environment, Economic Impact and Social Impact.
Mr Lanvin added that Singapore continued to be the world leader in key areas such as government usage and leadership in ICT and quality of math and scientific education. "This makes Singapore a world leader in "Social Impact of ICT".
Commenting on Singapore's ranking, Ronnie Tay, chief executive of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, said the country was encouraged by its ranking in the GITR.
"Over the last three decades, Singapore has been harnessing infocomm technology to support our social and economic development. We will continue to build the infocomm infrastructure and capabilities to create an environment where innovation can thrive and its impact can be felt by businesses and citizens."
Insead's Soumitra Dutta observed that over the past decade, the ICT industry has changed dramatically and its effects are increasingly transforming economies and societies. Professor Dutta, who is the Roland Berger Professor of Business and Technology at Insead, is the co-editor of the report.
"We have introduced a new set of metrics that assess not only the availability of technology, but also the ways in which economies put that technology to greater use to improve business innovation, governance, citizens' political participation and social cohesion," Prof Dutta noted. He added that this year's report offers an enhanced view of how technology is incorporated into the fabric of each country.
The NRI has been adopted by several governments as a valuable tool for assessing and leveraging technology for competitiveness and development, measuring economies against the components of environment, readiness, usage and impact, according to Prof Dutta.
He added that the GITR is the result of a long standing partnership between Insead and the WEF's Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance and the Industry Partnership Programme for Information Technology and Telecommunications Industries.