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Networked? Nepal Among Lowest 15 Countries In ICT Index

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Bangladesh, the second lowest in the region is 15 points ahead of Nepal in the World Economic Forum's Networked Readiness Index 2012.


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Nepal ranks 128th with a score of 2.92 among 142 countries in The Networked Readiness Index 2012, published in Global Information Technology Report 2012: Living in a Hyperconnected World by the World Economic Forum (See page 64 or data on Nepal).

In 2011, the country ranked 131st with a score of 2.97 among 138 countries. A year earlier it ranked 124th with the score of 2.95 among 133 countries. There were 9 countries after Nepal.

Last year, Nepal led 7 countries (Zimbabwe, Angola, Swaziland, Bolivia, Timor-Leste, Burundi, and Chad). This year it led 14 countries with the lowest scores- Syria (2.85), Ethiopia (2.85), Nicaragua (2.84), Timor-Leste (2.84), Lesotho (2.78), Madagascar (2.73), Burkina Faso (2.72), Swaziland (2.70), Burundi (2.57), Chad (2.55), Mauritania (2.55), Angola (2.49), Yemen (2.41), and Haiti (2.27).

China ranks 11th in the world with a 5.48 score, followed regionally by India ( 69th, 3.89), Sri Lanka (71st, 3.88), Pakistan (102nd, 3.39), and Bangladesh (113th, 3.20). Last year India ranked 48th with a score of 4.03, China (36th, 4.35), Pakistan (88th, 3.54), Sri Lanka (66th, 3.81), and Bangladesh 115th, 3.19).

According to the report, Sweden ranks first among 142 economies, followed by Singapore and Finland; the Nordic countries lead the ICT revolution. The United States, ranked 8th, benefits from strong ICT infrastructure, but weaknesses in the political and regulatory environment hinder its overall performance.

However, ICT readiness in sub-Saharan Africa is still low, with most countries showing significant lags in connectivity due to insufficient development of ICT infrastructure, which remains too costly, and displaying poor skill levels that do not allow for an efficient use of the available technology. Even in those countries where ICT infrastructure has been improved, ICT-driven impacts on competitiveness and well-being trail behind, resulting in a new digital divide.

The networked readiness index has been an annual feature of World Economic Forum since 2002. This 11th edition of the Index focus especially on the transformational impacts of ICT on the economy and society.

The report says that ICT readiness and usage remain key drivers and preconditions for obtaining any impacts. Despite ICT becoming increasingly universal, the question of access and usage remains important--especially for developing countries, given their need to narrow the digital divide. Even within developed nations, the need to provide high- speed broadband to all segments of the population has acquired importance in recent years. Despite recent improvements in overall competitiveness rankings, the BRICS, led by China at 51st, lag behind more advanced economies.

The report says that the advanced economies lead the emerging countries by a significant margin in terms of access and use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and thus its economic and social impacts. The digital divide is the widest with sub-Saharan Africa, and smaller with Developing Asia and with Latin America and the Caribbean. The divide is particularly deep in terms of infrastructure quality and digital content accessibility. In sub-Saharan Africa, the shortcomings in terms of skills and affordability--two critical areas of ICT readiness--are just as serious.

This poor preparedness in turn contributes to explaining the region's dismal performance in terms of usage. Sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the world's least-connected region. Only 13 per-cent of individuals in sub-Saharan Africa use the Internet, 8 percent of households in the region own a personal computer (PC), and less than 4 percent have access to the Internet at home.

By comparison, in Developing Asia 20 percent of individuals use the Internet, 22 percent of households own a PC, and 14 percent have access to the Internet at home. In terms of differences across developing regions, Developing Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean are very close in most dimensions. Exceptions are found in the affordability pillar and government usage pillar--that is, the leadership role that governments undertake to develop and leverage ICT in society, where the former outperforms the latter. In fact, Developing Asia has almost closed the gap with advanced economies in this latter dimension.

The Networked Readiness Index uses a combination of data from publicly available sources and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the Forum in collaboration with partner institutes, a network of over 150 leading research institutes and business organizations. This survey of over 15,000 executives provides insight into areas critical for networked readiness.

The presentation of the NRI rankings is followed by contributions by academics and industry experts, exploring the drivers and consequences for individuals, businesses and governments of living in a hyperconnected world.

The report contains detailed country profiles for the 142 economies featured in the study, providing a snapshot of each economy's level of ICT uptake and economic and social impacts. Also included is an extensive section of data tables for the 53 indicators used in the computation of the index.

The entire document is available here.

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Brihát Śhānti Sámjhautā, 2006
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