The UK is in danger of falling out of the top 10 Internet-connected economies, according to the Global Information Technology Report 2014.
Covering 148 countries, the report from business school INSEAD compares nations according to their degree of Internet connectivity among businesses, governments and individuals, and other factors.
It points to the growing disparity of ‘digital divide’ between developed and emerging economies, and recorded a two-place plummet suffered by Great Britain, which fell from seventh to ninth position.
The top six slots remain the same as last year: Finland (1), Singapore (2), Sweden (3), The Netherlands (4), Norway (5) and Switzerland (6).
The United States moved two places to 7th position from last year, while Hong Kong (8) and the Republic of Korea (10) have now joined the top 10 bracket, climbing up from their previous positions last year.
Various emerging economies continue to fall in this year’s survey, including giants such as China (62), Brazil (69), Mexico (79) and India (83) while other countries such as the United Arab Emirates (24th), Kazakhstan (38th), Panama (43rd), and Azerbaijan (49) have registered marked improvement.
INSEAD executive director Bruno Lanvin said: "The digital divide is not homogenous. We have a digital divide in Europe between Northern Europe and Southern and Eastern Europe; we have a digital divide in the Middle East, between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on the one hand and North African countries on the other; and we have other divides in other parts of the world.”
The report argues that there is a need for countries to look beyond ICT infrastructure development to increase their competitiveness and incorporate an integrated strategy to create the right environment for skill development, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The report also chronicles the rise of Big Data and calls for its integration within a knowledge environment that enables people to make sense of it.
With huge implications for policy makers, the report says that countries which are able to respond fastest will succeed in future.
"Issues like data privacy and internet governance will be actively discussed in the coming months, and will determine to a large extent how the world as a whole will be able to take advantage of the IT revolution, and the globalisation of the Internet," Lanvin added.
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