UAE achieves highest increase worldwide in ICT Development Index

ABU DHABI: The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, TRA, has announced that the UAE has made significant progress in its global ranking in the ICT Development Index (IDI).

The 6th edition of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report, ‘Measuring the Information Society (MIS) 2014’, classified the UAE as being within the “most dynamic” group of countries, having recorded above-average improvements in the ICT Development Index (IDI) rank over the past 12 months. The UAE jumped from a ranking of 46th to 32nd in the IDI.

The report stated that the UAE is the highest ranking country in the world in terms of the proportion of the rural population covered by at least a 3G mobile network. The widely recognised report also states that 137 million people in the Arab world were online by the end of 2013. The UAE ranked second of all Arab countries in terms of having the largest proportion of its population online (88%). Further, MIS 2014 shows that the UAE is well above the world, Arab States and developing countries’ average in terms of the IDI value.

Commenting on the report, Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director-General of TRA, said, “The significant achievements of the UAE in the report proves that the TRA is well on the way to securing its vision of providing an optimal enabling environment in which the UAE’s ICT sector will emerge as a leader in the global market place. With 88 percent of individuals in the UAE using the internet, the UAE is significantly above the world average of 40 percent. This is a testament to the penetration and quality of services provided by the UAE’s ICT sector.” “A knowledge-based online community is one of the key pillars of the Leadership’s Vision 2021 which calls for an outstanding ICT infrastructure that offers an edge to businesses as they transact and interact with the world. The last IDI confirms that the TRA is successfully working towards securing the Leadership’s vision for the future,” he added.

Value increases in the access and use sub-indices were both considerably above the global average. All the indicators included in the access sub-index showed improvement from 2012 to 2013. The UAE jumped 12 places from ranking 36 in 2012 to 24 in 2013 in use sub-index and from 38 to 36 in access sub-index. Furthermore, the report indicated that the price of ICT services are relatively cheap in the UAE. The UAE ranks among the most affordable countries in mobile and fixed sub baskets, which cost less than half a percent of GNI p.c. The report also ranks the UAE as 6th in the mobile cellular sub-basket and 14th in the fixed telephone sub-index.

The report confirms that the large improvements in rankings were due largely to the expansion of wireless broadband penetration, which doubled from 45 percent in 2012 to 90 percent in 2013. Other key drivers were the high level of household internet connectivity, and the increase in mobile telephone penetration by more than 17 percent, to 193 percent in 2013.

The MIS report, published annually since 2009, features key information and communication technology (ICT) developments and monitors the cost and affordability of ICT services. The report also includes the 2013 ICT Development Index (IDI) which captures the level of ICT developments in 166 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the year. The IDI index, which is the core feature of the MIS 2014, ranks countries’ performance with respect to ICT infrastructure, use and skills.