Australia has demonstrated very high levels ICT usage in the past year, though we aren’t very innovative, and the government could be doing more to encourage the use of technologies.
These findings were based on the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), released recently by the World Economic Forum (WEF), as part of its lt;igt;Global Information Technology Report 2015lt;/igt;.
The NRI has been ongoing since 2001, as a means of assessing the policies and institutions enabling each country to leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) for shared prosperity.
In the NRI, Australia advanced two places to reach 16th overall, out of 148 countries — its best rank so far.
Even though Australia featured in the top 10 of only one of the pillars within the index (infrastructure), we ranked no lower than 28th in each of the ten pillars of the NRI.
The report claimed Australia received excellent marks in most of the readiness-related indicators, which translated into very high levels of ICT usage.
We also boasted the fourth highest penetration rate of mobile telephone subscriptions of the third generation or above, although ICT uptake by businesses is more limited (25th).
It was noted however that Australian economy “is largely dependent on commodity exports and is not particularly innovative,” the report said.
The report found that despite excellent grades in terms of online services offerings and e-participation tools, the Australian Government could be doing more to encourage the use of ICTs.
“In order to develop this capacity for innovation, diversify the economy, and build resilience, the government and businesses should embrace ICTs even more enthusiastically,” the report recommended.
Overall, the WEF expressed concern over the world’s developing and emerging economies, which the report found were failing to exploit the potential of ICTs to drive social and economic transformation and catch up with more advanced nations.