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World’s leading digital nations named

Index is an in-depth look at technology adoption and the state of digital trust around the world

The Digital Evolution Index highlights the world's stand-out digital economies
The Digital Evolution Index highlights the world's stand-out digital economies

Singapore, the UK, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel have emerged as countries considered to be “digital elites” set apart by high levels of digital development and a fast rate of digital evolution, a new study reveals.


The Digital Evolution Index 2017, conducted by the Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard, assesses the development of 60 countries, demonstrating their competitiveness and market potential for further digital economic growth.


The index measures four key drivers and 170 unique indicators to chart each country’s respective progress in adopting technology and integrating connectivity into people’s lives. It utilises data over eight years (2008-2015) to provide an overall digital evolution score and digital momentum score, as well as a measure for digital trust.


Western and Northern European states lead in digital trust experience and environment scores, which reflect investments in strong security, privacy, and accountability measures, and in minimising friction.


“We all know technology can do more to improve economies and make our lives better, but growth is only achievable if everyone has confidence in the developing ecosystem,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, global enterprise risk and security, Mastercard. “In our pursuit of a truly connected world, trust and security are critical to successful digital development.”


According to their overall digital evolution scores, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, Hong Kong, and the US make the top 10-list of advanced digital economies, but given the current pace of innovation and change, being an advanced digital economy today doesn’t guarantee that status tomorrow, the index cautions.


How open and supportive they are to innovation will help determine their future growth potential.


Combining the pace and state of digital advancement, the research puts markets into four distinct categories:


Stand out – Singapore, the UK, New Zealand, the UAE, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Israel demonstrate high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth;


Stall out – Many developed countries such as in Western Europe, the Nordics, Australia and South Korea have a history of strong growth, but their momentum is slowing. Without further innovation, they are at risk of falling behind;


Break out – Though still at relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, these countries demonstrate the fastest momentum, are poised for growth and are attractive to investors. China, Kenya, Russia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico exhibit this breakout potential;


Watch out – Countries such as South Africa, Peru, Egypt, Greece and Pakistan face significant challenges, constrained both by low levels of digital advancement and a slow pace of growth.


“Adoption, the quality of digital infrastructure and institutions, and innovation collectively shape a country’s digital competitiveness, but governments also play a key role. The report also found that consumers’ trust in digital technologies correlates with digital competitiveness,” added Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of international business and finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and founding executive director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context.



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