UAE leads region in digital competitiveness

UAE moved up to 17th in the global rankings. 

According to the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Report for 2018, the UAE climbed the ranking by one position to secure 17th place on a global scale. The regions second largest economy also maintained its position as the leading economy in the Middle East chiefly due to Dubai’s strong push towards digitization in a bid to meet its objective of becoming a “Smart City” by 2021.

The UAE moved up the global rankings, thanks to the country’s continued development in its ICT sector, increased adoption of digital strategies across various projects and initiatives and progress in knowledge and technology investments in communications.

When compared against countries with a population of less than 20 million, the UAE fared even better, ranking 11th globally.

The country ranked first globally in ‘Business Agility’, a sub-category of the ‘Future Readiness’ indicator, and third globally in ‘Regulatory Framework’, a sub-category of the ‘Technology’ indicator. The UAE also ranked fourth globally in Talent, a sub-category for the ‘Knowledge’ indicator.

José Caballero, senior economist at the IMD Competitiveness Centre believes that the UAE can improve its long-term digital competitiveness through the continued investment and support of the development and adoption of new digital technologies. He went on to add that areas such as education and training (53rd) and scientific concentration (56th) can be improved through greater public investment in education and greater R&D productivity by publication (the number of scientific articles over R&D expenditure, as a percentage of GDP).

According to estimates by research and advisory firm Gartner, IT spending in the MENA region is expected to increase 3.4 % to $155.3 billion this year, driven by spending on devices, data centre system, software and communications services. Last year, industry estimates show that ICT spending in the UAE alone grew by Dh734 million to Dh58 billion.

According to the Executive Director of Dubai Internet City (DIC) – Ammar Al Malik – Dubai’s continuous improvement in the IMD Digital Competitiveness Ranking comes as no surprise, given that they are firmly committed to creating a supportive environment for businesses to thrive and grow in an increasingly digitized capacity.

Similarly, Dubai Internet City – the Freezone designated to the ICT industry – strives to improve their community and to enable their business partners to exchange knowledge and best practices, which in turn, contributes not only to their own growth, but the growth of the overall economy, says Al Malik.

With such a strong platform for the continuous progress of the nation in digital competitiveness and economic development in general, it is no surprise that the UAE is improving its position as an emerging global leader in digital competitiveness and will continue to do so for years to come. 

Source: Khaleej Times