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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 10:11 GMT
Singapore tops tech economy table
A large advertisement display of a Sony Ericsson mobile phone is seen on the street of Singapore
The report considers things like affordability of telephone services
Singapore has toppled the US from top spot in a ranking of world economies that make the best use of information and communication technology (ICT).

The US has been outpaced by the advance of other nations, rather than any slow down in its own performance.

The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) index placed Singapore, Iceland, Finland and Denmark above the US, with the UK up three places in 12th spot.

The WEF said ICT is playing a "central role" in growth and competitiveness.

Singapore was found to be the best performer in a number of categories, including quality of maths and science education, affordability of telephone connection charges and internet access, and government policy on ICT.

"It is clear that information and communications technologies will continue to play a growing role in boosting the efficiency of the increasing integrated global economy," said the report's co-editor Augusto Lopez-Claros.

He said that in turn enabled countries to "improve resource allocation and boost growth prospects".

Productivity link

The use of technology in 104 economies was assessed, while the report's Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measured the level to which countries exploit the opportunities.

Networked Readiness 2004-2005
1. Singapore (2)
2. Iceland (10)
3. Finland (3)
4. Denmark (5)
5. United States (1)
6. Sweden (4)
7. Hong Kong (18)
8. Japan (12)
9. Switzerland (7)
10. Canada (6)
11. Australia (9)
12. UK (15)
13. Norway (8)
14. Germany (11)
15. Taiwan (17)
2003-2004 rankings in brackets

Iceland was found to have achieved the greatest improvement among the top ten performers, moving up eight places to number two in the index.

Nordic governments, business communities and households are "enthusiastic users" of new technologies, the report noted.

The booming economies of China and India moved up 10 and six places respectively to into 41st and 39th in the index.

A comparison of previous indexes confirmed a trend of a narrowing digital divide between the most developed and least developed economies, said the report's authors.

"The link between investment in ICT and a nation's productivity has long been a subject of significant interest for decision makers and economists," the report noted.

"The analysis carried out by the authors establishes a strong link between the two."

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08 Mar 05 |  Politics
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EU 'behind US' in competitiveness
27 Apr 04 |  Business
US on top in tech competitiveness
09 Dec 03 |  Business

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