[Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA] South Africa, along with twenty-two other countries including Russia and China, require a “substantial” investment in technological infrastructure if the country hopes to lever off the global digital economy, according to a report by technology consultants McConnell International.
The report, released on Tuesday, rated 42 nations according to their connectivity,
technological innovation, information security, skills training and business climate,
finding twenty-three of the countries wanting overall.
The African continent, along with the Middle Eastern region, was found to have an
almost universal technological infrastructure problem.
Bruce McConnell, founder of the technology consultancy, commented that the
networking world in this region is still under construction, but hinted that the potential
exists for a reversal of regional fortunes.
He cites a number of government initiatives as aggressively addressing this lag,
specifically in countries such as Ghana and South Africa where governments are
spending up to 7 percent of their GDP on establishing a digital infrastructure.
The report isolates Ghana as a particularly promising country.
The government of Ghana, the first African country to introduce Internet access, has
invested significantly into developing a telecommunications infrastructure to support
Internet connectivity and has introduced incentives to promote e-commerce in the
Despite the fact that a majority of the population still does not have computer or
telephone access, measures such as this have established an infrastructure platform
for future development.
China was rated low in the list of nations primarily due to software piracy and a lack of
sufficient information security measures.
Russia received an ‘average’ rating in the skills training category but a below average
rating in the other categories.
The Middle East region was also a poor performer, hampered by legislation, notably in
Egypt, where people were not allowed access to a second phone line until 1998.
Saudi Arabia also received a below average rating, courtesy of laws disallowing
general Internet access until last year.
Internet technology was introduced in the country in 1994.
The top-rated countries were Estonia and Taiwan who both exhibited strong
technological leadership and sound skills training within a stable business climate.
Regionally, Central and Southern Europe proved to be the most competent.
Countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary and Estonia displayed
high levels of technology skills and legal protections for technology companies.