2019 Enabling Digitalization Index: Beyond potential

The U.S., Germany and Denmark make the top three of the 2019 edition of the EDI . Once again, the U.S. leads by far due to its best in class knowledge ecosystem, competitive market size and favorable regulation. Not only do U.S. companies already benefit from the best conditions for digitalization, but the connectivity quality is still improving, with an exponentially increasing number of secure servers . The only cloud on the horizon is the infrastructure score, which declined from last year. This highlights the need for the U.S. to strengthen its logistic infrastructure and competence.  

Germany keeps its second place, with the best knowledge ecosystem (tied with the U.S.) and infrastructure for trade. It saw a marked improvement in both connectivity and knowledge scores. Denmark is the newcomer to the podium, relegating the Netherlands to fourth place. This move can be explained by Denmark’s unique connectivity improvement, coupled with better infrastructure. Indeed, Denmark nearly tripled its number of secure servers (700,000) to a higher number than Brazil or China, and close to that of Russia. At the same time, its infrastructure score improved, thanks to a better timeliness of trade shipments and better technology to track and trace consignments.

China, rising to the top 10

China makes a booming entrance to the top 10 at 9th place, up from 17th place in 2018. The explanation lies in the country’s regulation score, as China made starting a business much easier and shorter (nine days) by removing lengthy procedures; in this, it has reached the level of high-income OECD countries. Other improvements in paying taxes, registering property and protecting minority investors also helped boost the score. Such progress in regulation is in line with China’s ambitions to be a digital leader. The “Made in China 2025” strategy aims at targeted investments in research and development (R&D) and an emphasis on technological innovation. This suggests we should see the country’s knowledge and connectivity scores rise significantly in the next few years. Not to mention that the size of the Chinese market enables companies to scale up their businesses easily and strengthen Chinese “self-dependent” innovation, rather than replicating Silicon Valley companies. In the future, we can also expect China’s regulation score to reflect the proposed progress in intellectual property protection and technology transfer. 

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Georges Dib
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