Sweden and Singapore top WEF digital economies list

The World Economic Forum has released its Global Information Technology Report for 2010 and 2011 (PDF), which (among other things) ranks nations of the world according to how they’ve adopted information and communications technologies—which, in turn, are seen to foster economic growth and development. Topping the list this year are Sweden and Singapore, with Finland, Switzerland, and the United States occupying the third, fourth, and fifth slots respectively.

“With a record coverage of 138 economies worldwide, the report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations,” the WEF wrote. “[The report confirms] the leadership of the Nordic countries and the Asian Tiger economies in adopting and implementing ICT advances for increased growth and development.”

The report emphasizes the role information technology can play in transforming both societies and economics through innovation and modernization, creating new economic opportunities in an increasingly interconnected global economy. Nordic countries fared very well in the reports, with Denmark coming in seventh, Norway coming in ninth, and Iceland ranking number sixteen. So-called “Asian Tiger” countries on the list include Taiwan at number six, South Korea at number ten, and Hong Kong in twelfth place.

WEF ICT Emerging Internet Economy Share forecast

The report forecasts that adoption of communications technology will diversity the Internet economy more rapidly than traditional sectors like manufacturing, exports, and other services. By 2020, the WEF forecasts, emerging economies will account for more than half of the Internet economy—and the world’s consumer class will number almost 4 billion by then—that’s up from 2.5 billion today, and nearly all the growth will take place in emerging markets.

Other notable entries in the list included Canada in the number eight position, Germany at number thirteen, while the United Kingdom came in fifteenth. Australia and New Zealand were 17th and 18th, respectively, while Japan ranked a surprisingly low 19th place. The bottom of the list, rather unsurprisingly, was dominated by some of the world’s most-challenged economies: Swaziland, Bolivia, East Timor, Burundi, and Chad rounded out the bottom five.

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