Ireland ‘static’ in global
ICT league


14 Mar 2005

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Ireland has remained static in its position at 22nd place in this year’s World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index, part of its Global IT Report, which measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by ICT.

The country was passed out by New Zealand, which last year ranked in 23rd place and this year is in 21st place. Austria notched up a few extra places from 21st position last year to 19th position this year.

Overall, Singapore ranked No 1 in the Networked Readiness Index, up from No 2 last year, followed by Iceland, Finland, Denmark, the US and Sweden respectively. The UK came in at No 12, up a few ranks from 15th position last year.

With a total coverage of 104 economies worldwide and published for the fourth year running, the World Economic Forum’s Global IT Report has emerged as the world’s leading assessment of the impact of ICT. The report is also seen as an accepted global benchmark of an economy’s preparation to participate in and benefit from technology developments. The report is also seen as a vehicle whereby governments, businesses and individuals can assess progress on a regular basis.

Ireland’s failure to notch up any further positions in the global ranking is indicative of the country’s unsatisfactory broadband penetration situation and other factors such as an embarrassingly poor level of PC penetration said IrelandOffline spokesman Damien Mulley.

“The fact that various reports have been saying we are way behind other countries, that we keep failing to get higher up the ranks in all areas of ICT is a cause for concern. It is apparent now that no matter how many reports are out we are static again this year,” Mulley said.

Referring to last year’s Lisbon Review, which ranked Ireland second last in Europe in terms of telecoms and below the average in terms of the information society, Mulley said: “Greece is the only country worse than Ireland in terms of broadband. Our e-government initiatives such as the motortax website, the CAO website and the Revenue Commissioners’ website, show that when Ireland puts its mind to things it can be the best in Europe. Telecoms is a massive issue and everyone’s going to be relying on telecoms more every year, yet we are right at the bottom in that area and it’s a critical issue that needs to be resolved if Ireland wants to improve its standing in the global index.

“There is a strong correlation between ICT spending and productivity, which is demonstrated in this research as a strong correlation between the rankings and global competitiveness,” said John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, which sponsored the report.

“While ICT usage is a measure of the present, ICT readiness is perhaps a measure of the future. Proactive policies and investments by all levels of government such as encouraging broadband network infrastructures, the education and literacy of citizens and ongoing skills training are all components of the readiness measurement and play an important role in building the foundations of a country’s productivity,” Chambers added.

By John Kennedy