Bangladesh has not done too well in the IDI rankings, but a Bangladesh newspaper has been fast off the mark. On a global ranking of ICT usage, Bangladesh falls at 145 among a total of 166 countries, according to the latest report published by the International Telecommunication Union today. In Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report, Bangladesh has also ranked at the 27th position among 29 nations in the Asia-Pacific region with an ICT development index (IDI) of 1.97 and Afghanistan being the lowest in the region with an IDI ranking of 1.67.
The ITU publishes an annual ranking of ICT development, with ICT access and use being given 40 percent of the weight each and a sub-component known as skills, made up of education indicators, given 20 percent. Of the SAARC countries, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are not covered. Of the six that are covered, Maldives and Sri Lanka hold on to their 72nd and 105th places, showing no improvement nor regression. Bhutan falls back one place to 118; India three places to 119; Pakistan two places to 127 and Nepal brings up the rear at 137th place (a regression of 3 places from 2010). It is not that their scores have not improved.
The Network Readiness Index published by the World Economic Forum has always treated Sri Lanka and India well. They have quoted extensively from the Information and Communication Technology Plan for Sri Lanka 2011–2016 (which is, curiously, not available on the Ministry and ICTA websites). But more on that later. It appears that the methodology has been radically reworked in 2012, so much so that comparisons with previous rankings do not appear in the report. While Sri Lanka’s overall rank (71st) slips back to where it was in 2009-10 (72nd), its relative position among the South and South East Asian countries has improved considerably.
The ITU’s ICT Development Index has been released. The performance of most South Asian countries has increased since 2008, but not enough. The rest of Asia shows a marked contrast. Vietnam advanced 10 places in the rankings and Indonesia six. Korea retained its first place.
The AT Kearney Global Services Location Index for 2011 is out. I seem to have missed the 2010 report, so comparing with 2009, which I did do a post on. India is still number 1 and China is number 2. No change. Thailand has slipped to 7 from 4, overtaken by Indonesia.
I am sitting in China, writing this. It may be a case of observer bias, but I find the Sri Lankan young people I deal with more nimble in thinking and in command of English than their counterparts here. Yet, according to a ranking by IBM as reported by LBO, China has made a dramatic jump from 13th position in 2009 to 5th position in 2010, while Sri Lanka is holding steady at 12th place. Is this a cause for self-congratulation or self-examination? Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
According to the ITU ICTeye, which is now carrying 2008 data, Pakistan’s surge to overtake Sri Lanka has petered out, leaving the Maldives (143 active SIMs/100 people) as the undisputed leader in mobile connectivity (apparently all adult Maldivians carry two active SIMs; there are only two operators in the Maldives), and Sri Lanka second with 52 SIMs per 100 people. On the fixed side, assisted by CDMA phones that are counted as fixed, Sri Lanka is the leader (17 connection per 100 people), followed by Maldives (15 per 100). Like in cricket, the middle of the rankings are the most interesting. Both Pakistan (50/100) and Bhutan (37/100) are ahead of India (29/100) in mobile. This shows that India cannot afford to let up the pace of 10 million connections a month for some time.
AT Kearny has issued the 2009 Global Services Index. The good news for South Asia is that Sri Lanka has moved up from 29 to 16 and Pakistan from 30 to 20. India, of course, sits at the top, no change from 2007. The advances of Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been at the expense of the Northern European countries (e.g.