Tufts University, in cooperation with Mastercard, has developed a Digital Evolution Index (DEI) which ranks countries based on their progress in digital development. The DEI includes 60 countries evaluated across over 100 different indicators. In its main ranking, the DEI compares overall digital development to recent digital progress in order to see which countries are innovating and improving most effectively.
In 2017 the latest report was issued. It includes a number of key findings (nicely summarized in the Executive Summary), including:
- Three countries in the “stand out” category are making particularly strong progress: Singapore, New Zealand, and UAE. Each has employed active government programs worthy of emulation by other countries;
- A number of countries in the “stall out” category, such as the US, South Korea, and the Scandinavian countries, are ranked highly but not showing many continued improvements. This is understandable — it is hard to improve forever — but also may indicate complacency;
- Countries in the “break out” category, such as China, Kenya and Bolivia, are showing great momentum which bodes well for the future;
- Countries in the “watch out” category, such as Egypt, Pakistan and Peru, are at a low level of development and not showing marked progress;
- A focus on mobile infrastructure brings the biggest return on investment for least advanced countries;
- Government policy and initiatives play a major role in the relative success of digital development in a country;
- Offering access at reasonable pricing isn’t sufficient. Technology providers and government agencies need to provide the privacy, security and accountability to engender trust.
Tufts also provides details about methodology, background papers, and access to the underlying data.