Jamaica's technology declines

Wednesday, April 13, 2011    

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JAMAICA'S technology decline is amongst the top-10 worst in the world, according to Thierry Geiger co-author of the Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011 published yesterday by the World Economic Forum (WEO).

Sweden topped the list for the second consecutive year whilst Jamaica's ranking sank for the fifth consecutive year, according to the WEO, based in Switzerland, US and China.

"Jamaica has been losing ground to the best performers. Indeed it is one of the 10 most declining countries over the period 2007-2011," said Thierry Geiger, co-author of the study in a Business Observer interview yesterday.

The 10 worst decliners include Mauritania, Algeria, Venezuela, Argentina, El Salvador, the Slovak Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, Thailand, and Bolivia. Interestingly six of the ten worst declining countries are found in the Americas whilst the remainder are scattered across Asia, Europe and Africa.

"Looking at the past five years, the dynamic of Jamaica's performance in terms of networked readiness is not very good," stated Geiger who is Economist and Associate Director within the Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance at the WEO which is an independent international organisation seeking to improve 'the state of the world'.

The network readiness index ranks countries based on three pillars related to its usage by government, individuals and business; second, the readiness amongst individuals, government and business; and third, the market, political and infrastructural environment.

Jamaica currently ranks 73rd amongst 138 countries but it dipped seven places in one year and 28 places over five years from 45th amongst 122 nations in the 2006-2007 report. He stated that no regional nation appears in the top 30 and only a handful feature in the top 50: Barbados (38th), Chile (39th), Puerto Rico (43rd), Uruguay (45th), and Costa Rica (46th). Whilst many countries in the region rank beyond the 100 mark, including Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, which is fourth to last.

"At 73rd, Jamaica is therefore in the middle of the pack within the region," stated Geiger who also co-authors the annual Global Competitiveness Report and the Global Enabling Trade Report.

Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland and US rank at one to five respectively. He stated that a common trend in the performance of these states included a strong public sector drive for information-communication-technology (ICT).

"One common factors across the best performers is the role played by the Government. The most networked countries typically have governments that have placed ICT at the heart of their national competitiveness strategy. A huge emphasis on education is another ingredient for success," he stated.

Geiger, however, stated that there was very little change among the top 20.

"The Nordic countries, led by Sweden, continue to feature prominently in the ranking, with the lowest of them, Iceland, ranked at a still excellent 16th rank. The Asian Tigers are the other economies which, as a group, stand out. Singapore (2nd), Taiwan (6th), Korea (10th) and Hong Kong (12th) are among the most networked countries in the world. Another region of interest is the Middle East which, as a region, has made remarkable strides over the past few years in terms of adopting and using ICT. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have all progressed in the ranking over. This is part of a massive effort by their respective governments to diversify away from commodities on which these economies very much depend," stated Geiger.




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