SA slumps to 92nd spot in ICT rankings
Despite improvement in the performance of the majority of countries in this year's ICT Development Index (IDI), according to assessment by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), SA's global ranking continues to take strain.
South Africa slipped down four places from 88th position last year to number 92 in 2017, the ITU's latest IDI rankings show.
The IDI is a feature of the Measuring the Information Society Report (MISR), which the ITU released during its World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium today. The ITU is hosting this year's symposium in Tunisia until 16 November.
Developed by the ITU in 2008, the IDI is a composite index that combines 11 indicators into one benchmark measure, which can be used to monitor and compare ICT developments between countries across the world. The ranking index has been described as a tool for monitoring progress towards a global information society and a core feature of the MISR.
The 2017 IDI edition ranks the performance of 176 economies with regard to ICT infrastructure, use and skills, allowing for comparisons to be made between countries and over time.
The most important aspect of the IDI is that countries should track their own year-on-year progress and make policy adjustments to grow their telecommunication or ICT sector, said Brahima Sanou, director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau for the ITU.
This year's results show improvements have been most significant among countries in the middle of the IDI rankings, many of which are middle-income developing countries.
In addition, least developed countries improved their average IDI value, with mobile broadband attributed as the driving force behind bringing previously unconnected individuals online and catering for the ubiquitous data needs of the ICT ecosystem.
According to the index report, Africa has by far the lowest average IDI performance of any region. Only one country in the region, Mauritius, falls into the top half of the IDI distribution or exceeds the global average value for IDI 2017.
Although SA's global ICT IDI rankings dropped during the period under review, the country, together with Mauritius and Seychelles, still ranks as one of the relatively high-performing on the African continent, says the report.
"As in other regions, there was relatively little movement in regional rankings between IDI 2016 and IDI 2017. At the top of the distribution, Seychelles moved from fourth to second position, at the expense of SA and Cabo Verde, while Gabon moved above Ghana, from seventh to sixth. The biggest gain in the regional rankings was made by Uganda, which moved from 24th to 20th position."