Ireland has ranked 29th when it comes to being best at using information and communications technologies (ICT) to boost growth, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report has revealed. Sweden is in the top spot.
The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011, which focuses on the power of ICT to transform society in the next 10 years through innovation and modernisation, shows that Sweden and Singapore are the most competitive countries in the digital economy.
The reach of new technologies in Sweden is among the densest in the world, with more than 90pc of the population regularly using the internet, the report found.
The 10 most digitally connected economies:
5/ United States
10/ South Korea
Source: The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011
Finland – which recently announced that access to a broadband internet connection should be a human right – is in third place. In fourth place is Switzerland, followed by the United States.
ICT was "a key enabler of a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable world", the WEF says, adding that the use of ICT was especially important "in the aftermath of one of the most serious economic crises in decades".
"Today we live in a world where more people have access to ICT (usually a mobile phone) than to toilets or clean water or the electric grid," states the report, which covers 138 economies.
The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011 also cites the work of researchers and industry observers, which document the positive impact of ICT diffusion on an economy’s GDP. "Estimates show that a 10pc increase in mobile phone penetration is associated with a 1pc growth in GDP."
The report looks at the areas of general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; the readiness of the three key stakeholder sectors – individuals, businesses and governments – to use and benefit from ICT; and the actual usage of available ICT.