Bahrain continues rise in Wef technology rankings

Published March 31st, 2009 - 01:27 GMT

Bahrain continues rise in Wef technology rankings
- Kingdom up 8 places to 37 of 134 global economies -

Bahrain has moved up the rankings for the second consecutive year in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report.  A rise of eight places since 2008 puts the Kingdom at 37th out of 134 economies worldwide and indicates a commitment to ICT both as a sector and an infrastructure to enable further business growth.

Published for the eighth consecutive year, the report is the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on the development process and competitiveness of nations.  Its Networked Readiness Index (NRI) assesses how prepared countries are to use ICT effectively on three dimensions: 1) general business and regulatory infrastructure environment for ICT; 2) the readiness of three stakeholder groups – individuals, businesses and governments – to use and benefit from ICT; and 3) their actual usage of the latest technologies available.

Bahrain has made significant progress in all three NRI components this year with gains of 13, nine, and four in ‘environment’, ‘readiness’ and ‘usage’ respectively.  Having gained a total of 13 places since 2006, the Kingdom is the highest climber of the GCC nations over a two year period.  The steep upward trend further demonstrates a commitment to creating an attractive business environment for international companies looking to access the markets of the Gulf, according to Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB).

He says: “We in Bahrain recognize ICT as an important enabler of continued economic growth, modernization and competitiveness.  And as a sector in its own right ICT, together with strong financial services, professional services, logistics and manufacturing sectors, already significantly contributes to the Kingdom’s economy – the most diversified in the Gulf.”

Leading international ICT businesses have regional offices in Bahrain including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, WIPRO, Satyam, Software AG, Netgear and Atos Origin.  The Kingdom is one of the Gulf’s technological pioneers; it was the first country in the Middle East to install a computer (1978); completely digitize its national and international phone switches (1992); hold an online referendum (2001); introduce smartcards (2005); fully liberalize its telecommunications market (2004); and to go nationwide with WiMax wireless networks (2007).

The announcement follows strong results for Bahrain in two other leading, independent global indices since the New Year.  In March 2009 the Kingdom was ranked No. 1 in the GCC and 33rd of 127 economies worldwide in Forbes’ Best Centres for Business 2009 report.  And in January Bahrain was ranked the freest economy in the Middle East and 16th in the world by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal’s 2009 Index of Economic Freedom – the only country in the MENA region to feature in the world’s top 20.
Bahrain continues rise in Wef technology rankings
- Kingdom up 8 places to 37 of 134 global economies -

31 March 2009, Manama:  Bahrain has moved up the rankings for the second consecutive year in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report.  A rise of eight places since 2008 puts the Kingdom at 37th out of 134 economies worldwide and indicates a commitment to ICT both as a sector and an infrastructure to enable further business growth.

Published for the eighth consecutive year, the report is the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on the development process and competitiveness of nations.  Its Networked Readiness Index (NRI) assesses how prepared countries are to use ICT effectively on three dimensions: 1) general business and regulatory infrastructure environment for ICT; 2) the readiness of three stakeholder groups – individuals, businesses and governments – to use and benefit from ICT; and 3) their actual usage of the latest technologies available.

Bahrain has made significant progress in all three NRI components this year with gains of 13, nine, and four in ‘environment’, ‘readiness’ and ‘usage’ respectively.  Having gained a total of 13 places since 2006, the Kingdom is the highest climber of the GCC nations over a two year period.  The steep upward trend further demonstrates a commitment to creating an attractive business environment for international companies looking to access the markets of the Gulf, according to Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB).

He says: “We in Bahrain recognize ICT as an important enabler of continued economic growth, modernization and competitiveness.  And as a sector in its own right ICT, together with strong financial services, professional services, logistics and manufacturing sectors, already significantly contributes to the Kingdom’s economy – the most diversified in the Gulf.”

Leading international ICT businesses have regional offices in Bahrain including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, WIPRO, Satyam, Software AG, Netgear and Atos Origin.  The Kingdom is one of the Gulf’s technological pioneers; it was the first country in the Middle East to install a computer (1978); completely digitize its national and international phone switches (1992); hold an online referendum (2001); introduce smartcards (2005); fully liberalize its telecommunications market (2004); and to go nationwide with WiMax wireless networks (2007).

The announcement follows strong results for Bahrain in two other leading, independent global indices since the New Year.  In March 2009 the Kingdom was ranked No. 1 in the GCC and 33rd of 127 economies worldwide in Forbes’ Best Centres for Business 2009 report.  And in January Bahrain was ranked the freest economy in the Middle East and 16th in the world by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal’s 2009 Index of Economic Freedom – the only country in the MENA region to feature in the world’s top 20.


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