Digital divide report highlights most "network ready" societies

03 December 2021 | Melanie Mingas

Cover

Europe has been named the most "network ready" society in a new study that captures how digital technologies are shaping the global recovery.

Specifically, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark were named as the top three most network ready societies, crowning Europe – which had eight countries in the global top 10 – as the best performing global region on the Index.

The findings are published in the Network Readiness Index (NRI report), released by the Portulans Institute this week and named Shaping the Global Recovery: How digital technologies can help make the post-COVID world more equal.

Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, STL said: “With the world migrating to digital faster than ever, networks are at the centre 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.”

At the other end of the scale, the report concluded that Africa is falling further behind other regions, particularly on access, affordability, and usage of ICTs.

Bruno Lanvin, co-founder and director, Portulans Institute said: “A strong recovery is now taking place in many parts of the world, and digitalisation 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.”

On the European-dominated top 10, the US – in fourth place – and Singapore – in seventh place – are the only non-European markets listed.

On that, although the top 10 countries from the NRI 2021 remain the same as last year, there has been significant changes within the group. The Netherlands moved up three positions to take the number one spot from Sweden, which has held that position since 2019.

The US is now ranked in the top five for the first time in the 2019-2021 period.