The World Economic Forum, WEF, has released its Digital Evolution Index, DEI, for 2017, classifying the UAE as a "Stand Out" country with an overall score of 3.22, which makes it the most advanced market in the Arab world and 22nd on a global level.
Stand Out countries are "highly advanced digitally, and exhibit high momentum." The UAE, along with New Zealand (14th place with a score of 3.54) and Singapore (6th place with 3.69), were the only three nations classified in this category, given their leading role in driving innovation and building on their existing advantages in efficient and effective ways.
Nonetheless, it was China that, once again, topped the list of countries in terms of momentum (the pace of change in its digital evolution), while the UAE ranked 10th.
"The UAE has come a long way since our leadership first launched the Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Smart City Strategy," noted Dr. Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office. "The strategies, projects and initiatives that have been implemented in the Emirates, and Dubai, in particular, brought together all the necessary ingredients to create the incredible momentum that catapulted the country to the high ranks of the World Economic Forum’s classification."
She added, "We have a responsibility now to continually sustain this momentum over time, using innovation and a future-oriented outlook to galvanise further expansions.
Setting our sights firmly on the future, as directed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, is the engine that will drive us forward as we work to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world."
The Nordic countries and Switzerland topped the DEI rankings once again this year, with Norway and Sweden coming in first and second, scoring 3.79 each (rounded up), followed by Switzerland in third place with 3.74, and Denmark and Finland in fourth and fifth place, respectively, with 3.72.
Five Arab countries made the top 60, with the UAE leading the pack, followed by Saudi Arabia in 31st place with a score of 2.80, Jordan in 40th with 2.41, Morocco in 50th with 2.12, Egypt in 54th with 1.74, and Algeria in 57th with 1.64.
The Index is a holistic, data-driven evaluation that tracks the progress of the digital economy across 60 countries, taking into account more than 100 different indicators across four key drivers: Supply Conditions, Demand Conditions, Institutional Environment and Innovation and Change. It reflects the state and rate of digital evolution on the one hand, while also identifying avenues for investment, innovation and policy priorities.