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Notes from the 2012-2013 Global Information Technology Report

April 10, 2013  »  StatisticsNo Comment

It’s April, and that can only mean one thing: another edition of the lengthy Global Information Technology Report. The Global Information Technology Report presents data by variable for 144 economies (up from 142 last year). Of special interest is the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which offers an overview of the current state of ICT readiness in the world. For the past two years, the report found that although African nations lag the global mean of networked readiness, many nations show a glimmer of hope across various sub-categories.

The same remains true this year, although most African nations fell in the global rankings. As a region, Sub-Saharan Africa is lauded for its significant efforts to build ICT infrastructure. ICT usage has increased, finds the report, but a “stubbornly high sharp digital divide from more advanced economies” still exists. Indeed, much of SSA can be found at the bottom of most sub-categories (e.g. skills, business conditions, access to ICT infrastructure). Only Mauritius (55th) and South Africa (70th) rank in the top half of the surveyed nations. Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone are included in this year’s report. Tunisia and Angola are not.


Growth and Jobs in a Hyperconnected World. {WEF}

Africa summary (page 15-16):

Sub-Saharan Africa has continued to make significant efforts to build its ICT infrastructure, as reflected by important improvements in developing its broadband infrastructure and the expansion of its mobile network coverage. As a result, ICT usage, while still very low, has picked up slightly, as seen especially by an increase in the number of Internet users and also by the continued commitment of some governments in the region to expand the number of available online services. Despite this positive trend, the stubbornly high sharp digital divide from more advanced economies, notably in terms of ICT-driven economic and social impacts, persists. A still-costly access to ICT infrastructure, relatively low levels of skills with low educational attainments, and unfavorable business conditions for entrepreneurship and innovation are hindering the region’s capacity to fully leverage the potential of the increasingly available ICT infrastructure. As a result, only two countries—Mauritius (55th) and South Africa (70th)— are positioned in the top half of the rankings, while nine out of the bottom ten belong to the region.”

Mauritius (55): Fairly strong government vision to deploy ICTs. Broadband Internet subscriptions and Internet users have slightly increased but business transactions using ICT are more common than personal ones.

South Africa (70): Increased by two positions since last year due to a sharp improvement in the development of ICT infrastructure. International Internet bandwidth has improved as did uptake by the business community. Social impacts of ICT, government vision, and presence of a robust educational system are still limited. Regulatory framework for ICT development ranks 21st internationally.

Egypt (80): Efforts to make ICT access affordable are among the best in the world (8th globally) and Internet penetration is average. A better business environment is needed to stimulate economic growth.

Rwanda (88): Fell by 6 places since last year as ICT infrastructure didn’t change. Nor did ICT uptake in society (139th globally). To Rwanda’s credit, government vision for developing ICT ranks 10th globally.

Morocco (89): ICT access is relatively affordable (30th globally) but a low ICT skills base hurts most areas of ICT engagement.

Kenya (92): Improved by one position. Overall ICT readiness remains low, in part due to a difficult business environment.

Seychelles (79), Cape Verde (81), Ghana (95), Botswana (96), Liberia (97), The Gambia (98), Senegal (107), Uganda (110), Namibia (111), Nigeria (113), Zambia (115), Zimbabwe (116), Cote d’Ivoire (120), Gabon (121), Mali (122), Benin (123), Cameroon (124): A similar story to other African nations – a lack of both skills and infrastructure. Insufficient development of ICT infrastructure and poor framework conditions for innovation hinder ICT uptake, even if mobile usage is on the rise.

Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Libya, Mozambique, Mauritania, Swaziland, Madagascar, Lesotho, Guinea, Chad, Sierra Leone, Burundi: These countries hold down 15 of the bottom 18 positions. They range from 127th to 144th position and (according to the report) severely lack ICT conditions and ICT impacts.

Year-over-year NRI rank change:

A year ago, every African nations except Cape Verde dropped in networked readiness. This year, twelve nations saw a relative improvement, but nineteen remained unchanged or dropped in the rankings. On average, nations that dropped in the rankings did so by a smaller margin (none did so by more than 13 places and most did by a few). Largest drops were Algeria (13 places), Malawi (13 places), and Mozambique (13 places). The indication is that ICT readiness in other global regions outpaced that in Africa, but compared with the previous year, Africa is in better position for ICT growth in the coming year.

  • Mauritius (down from 53 to 55)
  • South Africa (up from 72 to 70)
  • Egypt (down from 79 to 80)
  • Cape Verde (steady at 81)
  • Rwanda (down from 82 to 88)
  • Morocco (up from 91 to 89)
  • Kenya (up from 93 to 92)
  • Ghana (up from 97 to 95)
  • Botswana (down from 89 to 96)
  • The Gambia (up from 101 to 98)
  • Senegal (down from 100 to 107)
  • Uganda (steady at 110)
  • Namibia (down from 105 to 111)
  • Nigeria (down from 112 to 113)
  • Zambia (down from 109 to 115)
  • Zimbabwe (up from 124 to 116)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (up from 122 to 120)
  • Mali (up from 126 to 122)
  • Benin (down from 117 to 123)
  • Cameroon (up from 125 to 124)
  • Tanzania (down from 123 to 127)
  • Ethiopia (up from 130 to 128)
  • Malawi (down from 116 to 129)
  • Burkina Faso (up from 135 to 130)
  • Algeria (down from 118 to 131)
  • Mozambique (down from 120 to 133)
  • Mauritania (up from 139 to 135)
  • Swaziland (steady at 136)
  • Lesotho (down from 133 to 138)
  • Burundi and Chad held the final two spots of the 2011 report, after improving to 137th and 138th, respectively, in 2012. For 2013, the nations are joined by Sierra Leone at the bottom.

Rwanda (Chapter 2.2):

An excellent case study examines policy frameworks, the composition of the ICT industry, human capacity building (CMU in Rwanda, KIST, OLPC, kLab), and challenges (high cost of energy, shortage of skilled personnel, low broadband penetration, limited access to finance).

Sub-Pillars (pages 318-371):

ICT adoption in North Africa and South Africa tends to match global norms in many areas. Rwanda and Senegal have governments that prioritize ICT and economies that respond to ICT. However, most SSA nations are lacking in all areas of ICT, especially accessibility of digital content, households with Internet access, fixed broadband subscriptions, and fixed broadband tariffs.

  • 1.02. Laws relating to ICT – South Africa, Rwanda, Mauritius, The Gambia, Kenya, Seychelles are ahead of the global mean
  • 1.06. Intellectual property protection – South Africa, The Gambia, Rwanda, Liberia, Namibia, Botswana, Seychelles are above global mean
  • 1.07. Software piracy rate – Of 107 nations with data, Zimbabwe is the highest (92% of installed software is unlicensed). Libya is not far behind at 90%. South Africa has the lowest piracy rate at 25%.
  • 2.02. Venture capital availability – Above average in Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius
  • 3.03. International Internet bandwidth per user – very low in SSA, under 1% in Ghana, Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Madagascar, Liberia, Tanzania
  • 3.05. Accessibility of digital content – Seychelles is highest in Africa (and only African country above global mean) at 65th. This is a decrease from last year.
  • 4.02. Fixed broadband Internet tariffs (monthly sub. charge (PPP $) – Malawi and Swaziland are again at bottom and are joined by Guinea. The costs haven’t changed since last year (~$1,450 for Swaziland and Malawi). Guinea’s ridiculous $2,068 charge is also off the chart. Even The Gambia’s $952 charge is nearly four times that of Rwanda which lies only two places higher. Cape Verde is in the #3 spot with only $13.53/month. Egypt, Morocco, and Zimbabwe are also in the $20 and under range (top 25). Also notable is Chad in the 35 position.
  • 4.03. Internet and telephony sectors competition index – Ethiopia and Libya are tied for least competition in the world. Swaziland isn’t far behind.
  • 6.02. Internet users – Morocco again leads Africa with 51% (54th place), which is 2% higher than last year, but five places lower. All of SSA is in the bottom half globally, led by Nigeria at 28% (which has fallen to 92nd place).
  • 6.03. Households with a personal computer – last place Chad at 0.5%. Most of SSA is in the single digits.
  • 6.04. Households with Internet access – Ethiopia and Chad are in last place. Once again, no SSA nation is above 10%.
  • 6.05. Fixed broadband Internet subscriptions – 13 African nations have below 0.1 subscription per 100 population (a slight improvement on last year). Only Mauritius is above 5%.
  • 6.06. Mobile broadband Internet subscriptions – Egypt (46th with 24%), Ghana (47th with 23%), Namibia (54th with 21%), South Africa (55th with 20%). Essentially no mobile broadband in Liberia, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea.
  • 6.07. Use of virtual social networks – Egypt (38th), Morocco (45th), Seychelles (52nd), Senegal (70th) are above the global mean. Burundi, Chad, and Ethiopia again lag other nations.
  • 7.04. Extent of business Internet use – highest in South Africa (36th – up from 46th last year), Senegal (56th), Zambia (60th).
  • 8.01. Government prioritization of ICT – Rwanda ranks #10 in the world after falling from # last year. Seychelles (17th), Cape Verde (24th), The Gambia (27th), and Kenya (28th) also lead on a global level. Interestingly, Mali and Ethiopia are ahead of the global mean. Algeria is near the bottom.
  • 8.02. Government Online Service Index – Egypt (42nd – down from 23rd), is alone among African nations in the upper half. Guinea and Libya are in last place with an index of 0.00.

Source: The Global Information Technology Report 2012–2013. © 2013 World Economic Forum {}