Top marks for GCC nations in digital connectivity index
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Top marks for GCC nations in digital connectivity index

Top marks for GCC nations in digital connectivity index

Countries in the GCC are ranking among the highest in the world when it comes to the state of their digital connectivity in 2023

Gareth van Zyl

Gulf countries are advancing at a rapid rate in terms of their ICT development, with the region’s countries scoring among the highest in the world when it comes to digital connectivity.

The International Telecommunication Union’s latest 2023 ICT Development Index (IDI) monitors 169 countries’ progress in ICT services through ‘universal connectivity’ and ‘meaningful connectivity’.  The report is designed as a tool for policy makers to advance their countries’ digital connectivity efforts.

Aspects that the report looks at include, for example, the overall percentage of individuals in a country using the internet, the population covered 4G/LTE mobile network as well as the affordability of fixed and mobile data prices.

And in this year’s report, several GCC countries have scored among the highest in this index, highlighting the region’s significant advancements in terms of driving ICT development in the region.

For example, Saudi Arabia this year scored 94.9 points overall, meaning the country ranks much higher than the global average of 72.8.  Meanwhile, the UAE scored 96.4 on this IDI metric, while Qatar notched up 97.3. For other GCC countries, their standings this year are as follows: Oman (90.5), Kuwait (98.2) and Bahrain (96.5).

Putting these figures into context, the US this year scored 96.6, the UK (92.8), Japan (92) and Germany (87.3). Singapore, meanwhile, scored 97.4 while Denmark has the world’s highest ranking at 98.2.

Looking more broadly at the world’s state of connectivity, the authors of the ITU report state that while progress has been made in terms of digital access, there is still a long way to go.

“The advent of mobile telephony and of the internet have transformed connectivity, and indeed humanity. Today, there are more mobile phone subscriptions than people on the planet. Two-thirds of the world’s population use the internet. The internet is woven into the entire fabric of our daily lives. Yet, one-third of the world’s population remain offline, and even among the nominally online population, many are not meaningfully connected,” notes the ITU.

“Multiple digital divides persist, across and within countries, between men and women, between youth and older persons, between cities and rural areas, and between those who enjoy an ultra-fast fixed-broadband connection and those who struggle on a shaky connection. Some 400 million people are entirely beyond the reach of a mobile broadband network,” the ITU adds.

Source: ITU


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