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The UAE has achieved a major international milestone by being ranked in tenth place in the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021 led by the US four years running.
The index issued by the IMD World Competitiveness Center (WCC) of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), shows that the UAE leads the Middle East and North African and outperforms some major economies, such as Finland, Canada, the UK, Australia, China, Germany, France, Japan and Belgium.
The UAE’s rapid advancement to the 10th position from 18th in 2017 is a remarkable feat. It shows that its digital competitiveness has been boosted by increasing investments in digital technologies in the private sector as well as the development of e-government services.
According to the World Competitiveness Center, the world’s two largest economies are evenly matched on a few measures of digital competitiveness covering knowledge transfer, business readiness and educational investment. Both are data importers, where the rest of the world exports. But they are otherwise pursuing starkly differing digital transformations. The US tops IMD’s Digital Competitiveness Rankings for the fourth year running, alongside a rapid rise through the ranks from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. China has risen 15 places in that time in a state-based governance model
Now in its fifth year, the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking measures the capacity and readiness of 64 economies to adopt and explore digital technologies as a key driver for economic transformation in business, government and wider society. Based on a mixture of hard data and survey replies from business and government executives, the digital rankings help governments and companies to understand where to focus their resources and what might be best practices when embarking on digital transformation.
Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and President of the Emirates Competitiveness Council, said that the UAE’s top ten rating in the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021 is a new achievement, which is part of its efforts to enhance its prominent stature as one of the world’s best countries.
“The UAE has proven its ability to overcome challenges and turn them into inspiring opportunities, due to the visions of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces,” he added.
“This achievement is to be added to the country’s record in global competitiveness and highlights its ability to keep pace with its significant new government work approach. It also highlights the government’s future aspirations and its strategic goal to achieve overall progress,” he said.
The IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking presents the 2021 overall rankings for the 64 economies covered by the WCY. The rankings are calculated on the basis of the 52 ranked criteria: 32 Hard and 20 Survey data.
In this year’s report, the UAE topped Mena countries, ranking first in all key categories, as well as fifth globally in “Technology,” 12th in “Readiness for the Future,” and jumping 13 places to 18th in “Knowledge.”
In the report’s nine sub-factors, the UAE was ranked first globally in “Talent,” advancing four places compared to last year’s report, as well as second globally in “Regulatory framework,” fifth globally in “Technological framework,” 25th globally in “Education and training,” and 10th globally in “Business agility” and “IT integration.”
The UAE was ranked first globally in four indexes, which are “Cybersecurity”, “Net flow of international students,” “Immigration laws” and “Mobile broadband subscribers.” The country was ranked second globally in “Foreign highly-skilled personnel,” “International experience” and “Attitudes toward globalisation,” and third globally in “Management of cities,” “Companies’ use of big data and analytics,” and “Opportunities and threats.”
The UAE advanced significantly in several indexes in the report, jumping 31 places in both “Internet users” taking the 4th globally, and “Higher education achievement”, comin 16th globally.
The country also jumped 22 positions in the “Mobile broadband Subscribers” index, ranking 12th globally, as well as nine positions in the “Women with degrees” index, reaching tenth place globally.
The research shows that the US outspends China on education as a proportion of GDP at almost double the rate (6.0 per cent against China’s 3.5 per cent), although China tops global rankings for mathematical literacy among the young (the US ranks 36th).