Abu Dhabi: The UAE government's focus on information and communications technology as an enabler has paid off in improving the country's global ranking in technology adoption.
The UAE has been ranked 23rd among 133 countries and first in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in the Global Information Technology Report (GITR) — a study conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and INSEAD, an international graduate business school.
The report ranked the UAE first among 14 MENA countries for the second year, followed by Bahrain and Qatar.
The Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which ranks 133 economies by examining the correlation between ICT readiness and economic growth, ranked Sweden at the top followed by Singapore and Denmark.
Both the GITR and the NRI play a role in raising global awareness of the importance of ICT as a central tool in the design of policies, aimed at increasing a nation's development and competitiveness.
Speaking about the UAE's number one ranking in the region two years in a row, Professor Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Professor of Business and Technology at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report, told Gulf News that the UAE has been reaping the benefits of its conscious strategy to invest in technology to enhance its competitiveness over the last years.
"The UAE continues to set the benchmark for technology excellence in the region. However, the UAE cannot afford to sit still, the world is moving fast and the UAE has to move ahead with confidence," said the professor.
Commenting on the relevance of this ranking Dutta said: "The ranking confirms the positive impacts of the investments that the UAE has made in supporting technology excellence over the last years. Now the UAE has to build on this, and further prepare its economy for the knowledge economy.
"The current economic challenges should not deter the pace of progress in the UAE. In fact, now is a good time to invest and build for a stronger and more competitive future."
The UAE has several strengths which helped it achieve the top rank in the region, added Dutta.
"For example, the UAE is ranked second and fifth in the world in government and individual readiness respectively to use technology.
"It also has a very supportive market environment for the use of technology, ranked 12th in the world."