The Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010
The Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010

Sweden, for the first time, tops the rankings as the world's most networked economy.  The Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 ranks 133 economies on how well they use Information and Communications Technology or ICT to advance their economic growth and development.  The report, published by the World Economic Forum, is being released in Geneva.

Four Nordic countries rank among the top 10.  The United States moves down two positions to fifth place.  Two Asian tigers, Singapore and Hong Kong also make the top 10.

The report finds China and India have both moved up significantly in the rankings to 37th and 43rd positions respectively.  Holding up the bottom are a number of African and East Asian countries, with Chad coming in at number 133.

The rankings measure the extent to which the use of ICT accounts for the economic successes and global competitiveness of countries.

Economist at the World Economic Forum, Thierry Geiger, tells VOA ITC usage has become indispensable for any country that wants to increase its wealth and business.

"Even in developing countries, it has become widespread, especially mobile telephony and it really allows those countries to leapfrog stages of economic development through lower transaction costs, more efficiency, new business models, a new method of delivery-financial services, health, education. It is definitely an enabler of economic growth,"  he said.

The report weighs in heavily on the ICT situation in developed countries.  But, Geiger explains it also examines what is taking place in the poorest countries.

In compiling the rankings, he says the report does not compare a country such as Chad to the United States or Switzerland.

"We publish an overall ranking, but then we have ranking by income groups and that, you know is where interest lies.  You compare Chad versus Burundi or Burundi versus South Africa to see where the strengths and weaknesses are, where the gaps are, what are the best practices," Geiger said.

Geiger says the value of the report is countries can compare their ICT experiences and learn from them to help improve their economies.  He says the information technologies have a huge potential for boosting economic growth in all countries, even the poorest.

He notes this message is getting across to countries such as Ghana, Botswana and Mauritius, which are taking action to promote ICT, to good effect, within their societies.