Brussels, 17 Mar 2005
Four of the six highest ranking positions in the latest ranking of the world's most advanced nations for exploiting information and communication technologies (ICT) are occupied by Nordic countries.
The World Economic Forum's global information technology report 2004-2005 features a 'networked readiness index', which measures the relative level of ICT development in 104 nations. Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Sweden appear in second, third, fourth and sixth place respectively. The fifth Nordic country, Norway, is in 13th place.
According to the report: 'Nordic countries continue to build up an impressive track record in the ICT area [...]. Governments, the business communities and households are enthusiastic users of new technologies and the countries have a distinguished record in technological innovation.'
It continues: 'Sweden, Finland and Denmark, in particular, consistently outrank some of the larger European economies in terms of the number of US patents registered per million population, a frequently used indicator of a nation's innovation record. They also enjoy an enviable regulatory and institutional environment that has nurtured the growth of the ICT sector.'
Elsewhere, the report notes that Estonia leads the central and eastern European countries, largely thanks to its 'excellent regulatory framework for ICT', and that generally, the former centrally planned economies in the region tend to rank higher than some of the larger countries in Latin America, such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
'Impressive levels of foreign direct investment to central and eastern Europe during the past decade, reflecting comprehensive reforms adopted ahead of EU accession, have played a central role in this process,' the document adds.
Other European countries to feature in the top 20 of the index are Switzerland (9), the UK (12), Germany (14), the Netherlands (16), Luxembourg (17), Austria (19) and France (20). For the first time, Singapore tops the global ranking, having been judged the best performer in a number of categories, including quality of maths and science education, affordability of telephone connection charges and government prioritisation of ICT. To access the World Economic Forum's global information technology report, please: click here