UAE features among 'Stand Out' digital economies across the world
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UAE features among ‘Stand Out’ digital economies across the world

UAE features among ‘Stand Out’ digital economies across the world

The Middle East region is emerging as a hotspot for digital demand


The UAE is leading the way as a digital powerhouse across the Middle East, with a firm focus on the implementation of smart government and cities – with digital social services, education, healthcare and clusters to support entrepreneurship, a new study has revealed.

Meanwhile, the Middle East is also garnering prominence as a digital hotspot, the Digital Intelligence Index released by the Fletcher School at Tufts University, the Graduate School of Global Affairs at Tufts University and Mastercard has revealed.

Besides the UAE, regional economies such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also featured in the index, having outlined long-term strategic plans, supported by high levels of education, young populations and access to global talent, to transform their economies to digitally advanced ones. The index charts the progress countries have made in advancing their digital economies, building trust and integrating connectivity.

Middle Eastern and North African economies have also made impressive progress in reducing digital inequities, bringing millions more online and empowering the previously digitally disenfranchised communities. Geographic and gender disparities have been alleviated too.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School, said: “The pandemic may be the purest test of the world’s progress towards digitalisation. We have a clearer view on how dynamic digital economies can contribute to economic resiliency during a time of unparalleled global turmoil and can be positioned for recovery and change.”

Digital evolution and trust
This year’s index has zeroed in on two components: Digital evolution and digital trust. The former captures an economy’s historical momentum from the physical past to the digital present, while the latter connects it from the digital present to an inclusive digital future.

Mapping 95 per cent of the world’s online population and drawing on 12 years of data, the digital evolution scorecard measures 160 indicators in 90 economies across four key pillars: institutional environment, demand conditions, supply conditions, and the capacity for innovation and change. These segment into four categories:

Stand Out economies – Singapore, United States, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Estonia, UAE, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Lithuania– are both highly digitally advanced and exhibit high momentum.
Stall Out economies – such as Sweden, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan and Canada – are mature digital economies with a high state of digital adoption despite slowing digital momentum.
Break Out economies – such as China, India, Indonesia, Poland and Russia – are evolving rapidly.
Watch Out economies – such as Nigeria, Uganda, Colombia, Peru, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have a number of infrastructure gaps.

Meanwhile, the digital trust scorecard measures 198 indicators in 42 of the index’s economies across four key pillars: behaviour, attitudes, environment, and experience.

  • Economies such as Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are beginning to build momentum on behaviour scores, demonstrating substantial engagement on social media and other new technologies.
  • Economies such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam have increasingly favourable attitudes about their digital future, buoyed by rapidly expanding digital adoption and opportunity.
  • Economies with more mature approaches to digitalisation and related policymaking include Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark.
  • Economies such as United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore provide citizens with a near seamless experience, delivering advanced infrastructure, broad access and unparalleled interaction.

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