Global Connectivity Index

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The Global Connectivity Index (GCI) is a comprehensive guide for policy makers and industry leaders to develop a roadmap to the digital economy. The GCI has evolved, increasing the number of nations tracked in its rankings and by constantly strengthening the methodology and research standards it employs. The growth of the GCI’s database, since the first Index was published in 2014, offers practical insights and recommendations for policy makers on what it takes to succeed in the digital economy.

Scope[edit]

Today, the GCI[1] tracks and benchmarks the progress of 79 nations toward the digital economy. Its core methodology analyzes 40 indicators that identify progress made in the interplay of ICT investment, technology adoption, user experience and market development. Based on these criteria, the Index assigns a “GCI score” for each indicator based on a realistic future target value. The movement of even a single GCI point from year to year is a significant reflection of a country’s progress toward a digital economy.

The GCI offers a unique research framework to assess a nation’s digital transformation by looking at four economic pillars namely supply, demand, experience and potential, in addition to  technology enablers - broadband, cloud, AI and Internet of Things (IoT). Under this proprietary research methodology, three clusters of nations are grouped according to their GCI position and GDP per capita. The three GCI clusters – Starters (GCI Score 23-39), Adopters (score 40-64), and Frontrunners (score 65-85) – account for almost 95% of global GDP.

Most ICT indexes focus on a single technology area such as broadband, cloud, data center or other technology enablers. What differentiates the GCI is that it is the only index available that goes deeper into key technology areas and at the same time measures their collective impact on the digital economy. In addition to the four core technology enablers, the GCI also takes into consideration other indicators such as workforce, ICT laws, and e-Government services. It is seen as an authoritative source that informs policy makers and industry leaders on their nation’s investment, adoption, quality and potential compared to their peers, as well as its related impact on the digital economy.

Key findings[edit]

The widening of the global digital divide

The recurrent theme of the GCI is that Frontrunners are pulling far ahead of nations that are lower on the spectrum of the GCI S-curve. The widening gap suggests an ICT version of sociology’s “Matthew Effect”, where the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” based on an accumulated advantage over time. Policy makers in the Adopters, and especially in the Starters, are advised to consider the deepening inequality gap as it may have long-term consequences on their ability to compete and sustain economic growth.

However, Frontrunners that invested heavily in ICT infrastructure over the years saw growth stagnate due to having now exhausted much of the value of that infrastructure. To drive sustainable growth, countries or organizations are advised to focus on participating in global win-win collaboration. The GCI 2019 outlines five roles needed to develop such global Intelligent Connectivity ecosystems. These are Decision Makers (countries, organizations or enterprises), Data Scientists, ICT Companies, Data Collectors, and End Users. These roles collaborate and leverage each other’s strengths to create value for all participants: nations, enterprises, and the public.









A comparison of GCI reports over the four-year period from 2015 through 2019 shows significant movement in country rankings. In the GCI 2019 report, most of the 79 nations in the rankings saw overall GCI scores improve.

Country GCI 2019 Rank GCI 2018 Rank GCI 2017 Rank GCI 2016 Rank GCI 2015 Rank
United States 1 1 1 1 1
Switzerland 2 4 3 2 4
Sweden 3 3 4 4 2
Singapore 4 2 2 3 3
Denmark 5 5 5 7 8
Japan 6 9 6 5 9
Finland 7 7 7 8 7
Norway 8 11 9 9 6
United Kingdom 9 6 10 11 12
Netherlands 10 8 13 10 11
Australia 11 10 8 12 10
New Zealand 12 12 12 13 13
South Korea 13 13 11 6 5
Canada 14 15 15 17 16
Germany 15 16 14 14 15
Luxembourg 16 14 16 15 14
France 17 18 17 18 18
Ireland 18 17 20 20 20
Austria 19 19 18 16 19
Belgium 20 20 19 19 17
Estonia 21 21 21 21 23
Spain 22 23 22 22 21
United Arab Emirates 23 22 23 23 22
Portugal 24 24 24 24 24
Czech Republic 25 25 25 25 27
China 26 29 32 38 39
Italy 27 28 27 27 25
Lithuania 28 27 28 28 29
Slovenia 29 26 26 26 26
Malaysia 30 30 29 30 34
Hungary 31 32 30 29 31
Slovakia 32 31 31 32 30
Chile 33 33 33 36 45
Bulgaria 34 42 44 44 44
Uruguay 35 36 36 40 41
Poland 36 34 35 39 36
Romania 37 35 37 35 37
Greece 38 40 43 42 40
Croatia 39 38 41 41 35
Bahrain 40 37 40 34 32
Russia 41 39 38 37 38
Oman 42 43 34 31 28
Saudi Arabia 43 41 39 33 33
Brazil 44 44 42 43 42
Turkey 45 46 46 46 47
Kuwait 46 45 45 45 43
Belarus 47 47 47 49 48
Argentina 48 49 49 48 51
Kazakhstan 49 48 48 47 46
Ukraine 50 54 55 55 56
Mexico 51 50 53 54 50
South Africa 52 51 54 53 54
Serbia 53 52 50 52 49
Thailand 54 53 52 51 53
Colombia 55 55 51 50 52
Peru 56 56 56 56 58
Vietnam 57 60 61 57 60
Egypt 58 58 64 63 59
Philippines 59 59 57 59 62
Ecuador 60 57 59 61 61
Morocco 61 61 62 64 63
Indonesia 62 62 60 62 64
Lebanon 63 66 65 65 65
Jordan 64 63 58 58 57
India 65 67 67 67 66
Venezuela 66 65 63 60 55
Paraguay 67 64 66 66 67
Algeria 68 69 69 71 71
Bolivia 69 68 68 68 69
Botswana 70 70 72 70 73
Ghana 71 71 70 72 70
Kenya 72 72 71 69 68
Bangladesh 73 76 75 76 77
Namibia 74 73 73 73 72
Nigeria 75 74 74 75 74
Pakistan 76 75 76 74 78
Tanzania 77 78 77 77 76
Uganda 78 77 78 78 75
Ethiopia 79 79 79 79 79


Key GCI findings (2015-2019)

Year Key GCI Findings
2019 AI’s upside potential

Nations across the GCI spectrum are discovering an “AI upside potential" in 2019. Countries with the highest GCI scores can leverage Intelligent Connectivity to accelerate economic growth up to 2.4 times faster than other nations for every GCI point improvement.

2018[2] AI is turning Intelligent Connectivity into a gateway for a new economic growth cycle.

AI readiness is integral to success in the digital economy. AI readiness assesses whether a country has met the three preconditions for AI: computing power, labeled data and algorithms.   

2017[3] The law of increasing returns for ICT infrastructure investment – every additional US$1 invested could yield up to US$5 in GDP growth by 2025:

An additional 10% of ICT infrastructure investment each year incorporated into an economic master plan beginning in 2016, over time, would have a multiplier effect that by 2025 could add US$17.6 trillion in GDP to the global economy. In real terms, the potential impact is equal to about the size of the European Union's GDP in 2016. Using this economic impact mode, the GCI 2017 finds that every additional US$1 of ICT Infrastructure investment could bring a return of US$3 in GDP in 2016, US$3.70 in 2020 and see a potential return of US$5 in 2025.

2016[4] Impact of 1 point of GCI:

GCI scores are not abstract numbers but have a real-world effect on economic growth. A movement in GCI score of only 1 point correlates to: a 2.3% increase in productivity, a 2.2% rise in innovation and a 2.1% increase in national competitiveness.

2015[5] Construction of ICT infrastructure is critical for a nation's competitiveness:

A 20% increase in ICT investment will grow a nation's GDP by 1%.

2014[6] 100 billion connections by 2025, producing 175 zettabytes of data per year:

By 2025, as many as 100 billion connections will be generated globally, 90% of which will come from intelligent sensors. This increase will be due to enterprises becoming enabled by the internet. By leveraging connectivity to streamline business processes, reduce costs and improve efficiency, enterprises will drive innovation and move the focus from a consumer driven internet to an industrial one.

Differences between the three GCI clusters – Starters, Adopters and Frontrunners

Starter: Average GDP per capita: US$3,800 | GCI score: 23-39 These nations are in the early stage of ICT infrastructure build-out. Their focus is on expanding connectivity to give more people access to the digital economy.

Adopter: Average GDP per capita: US$17,200 | GCI score: 40-64 Nations in this cluster experience the largest GDP growth from investment in ICT Infrastructure. Their focus is on increasing demand for high-speed connectivity to facilitate industry digitization and economic growth.

Frontrunner: Average GDP per capita: US$58,100 | GCI score: 65-85 These nations are mainly developed economies that focus on enhancing the user experience. Their priority shifts to investment in big data and IoT to develop a smarter and more efficient society.

GCI Methodology[edit]

The GCI has a unique research model as it comprises 40 indicators that can be analyzed in terms of four economic pillars and four technology enablers. Based on these indicators, the GCI fully and objectively measures, analyzes, and forecasts the economies tracked; quantifies the digital economy transformation journey they are undergoing; and provides a reference tool for policy makers and industry leaders. The four economic pillars are ICT supply, demand, experience, and potential. The four technology enablers are broadband, cloud services, AI, and the IoT.

The first report published in 2014 covered 25 nations and 10 industries, including finance, manufacturing, education, transportation and logistics which accounted for 95% of global GDP. The GCI 2015 report first covered 50 nations with 38 indicators. In the GCI 2016 report, two new indicators were introduced, raising the total to 40. In addition, the GCI 2016 also included updated definitions (e.g. replacing 3G coverage with 4G coverage) based on advances in ICT. In 2018, the GCI broadened the scope from 50 to 79 nations. The research methodology was expanded in 2019 again by adding the new AI perimeter which includes: Data creation, AI Investment, AI-enabled robotics and AI potential. Intelligent Connectivity’s five enabling technologies were also consolidated into four: Broadband, Cloud, IoT and AI in the same year.

Influence[edit]

The GCI has gradually become a global benchmark for the assessment of digital transformation. It has been cited by more than 30 authoritative agencies including: Accenture[7], Asia Development Bank Institute[8], APEC Business Advisory Council[9], CITADEL[10], Ernst & Young[11], Inter American Development Bank[12], The International Telecommunication Union[13], GSMA[14], G20[15] and The Center for Transatlantic Relations[16].

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Global Connectivity Index".
  2. ^ "Global Connectivity Index 2018" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Global Connectivity Index 2017".
  4. ^ "Global Connectivity Index 2016" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Global Connectivity Index 2015" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Global Connectivity Index 2014".
  7. ^ "Digital China 2020: An action plan for Chinese enterprises" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Trans-Pacific Partnership Rules For Digital Trade In Asia" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Driving Economic Growth Through Cross-Border E-Commerce in APEC: Empowering MSMEs and Eliminating Barriers" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Mobile Connectivity Index: Methodology".
  11. ^ "Propelling India To A Trillion Dollar Digital Economy" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Exponential Distribution Digital Economy".
  13. ^ "S Pol Broadband" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Mobile Connectivity Index: Methodology" (PDF).
  15. ^ "G20 Digital Infrastructure: Overcoming the Digital Divide in Emerging Economies" (PDF).
  16. ^ "The Transatlantic Economy 2018" (PDF).