A recent global report on information and communications technology finds that only a few countries manage to translate their investments in this area in significant economic and social benefits. And Haiti, despite its dynamic telecom sector, is not in this category.
As in a lot of social and economic relations, the country is positioned in back of the pack because of its low “preparedness networks.” This is even more clearly the very limited capacity of the country to use the technology in improving the welfare of its population.
In the index of preparedness networks (NRI: Networked Readiness Index), Haiti gets the lowest score of 2.5 out of 7. Compared to last year, the performance of the country has not changed. Which places this year in 137th position out of 139 countries considered in this study produced by the World Economic Forum.
Yet unlike the Haitian stagnation, many other countries in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean ahead and reduce their deviations from the most savvy countries in the area such as Chile (38th worldwide).
“Many governments in the region must urgently increase their efforts to improve their regulatory frameworks and innovative environment,” advises the report.
Points of delay or opportunities
The networks readiness index considers 10 major parameters. For each, the performance of Haiti is poor. For its political and regulatory environment, Haiti gets 2.7 out of 7. If the country is relatively well ranked for the number of procedures and days to complete a contract, other aspects such as the independence of the judiciary, the effectiveness of the legal system are on red alert. ICT-related laws, the country is simply the last in the rankings.
Pillar “business climate and innovation environment,” Haiti is not better prepared. Access to the latest technologies, the number of days to open a business, the quality of management schools and the low level of competition in the local economy are among the points where Haiti has the greatest delays compared to other countries world. The same applies to the third pillar, “Infrastrustures” where Haiti displays a dismal score of 1.1 out of 7.
The highest rating of the country is obtained for the pillar “affordability of new technologies”, especially thanks to enough competitive rates of mobile phone prepaid plans and competition in the industry. The fifth pillar, “Skills”, highlights aspects where educational institutions should emphasize education to better prepare the population for the adoption of digital technologies, particularly the quality of education in the sciences and mathematics.
Three pillars, “individual utitilisation,” “use in business” and “use in public administration,” with details show how Haitian society still slow to embrace new technologies. Note that the Haitian State is classified last in the adoption of ICT, with a low importance of these technologies in the government’s vision. The last two pillars of the study reported low éconmiques and social impacts of ICT in Haiti, particularly in education and access to other basic services.
The future for more prepared
Globally, the most impressive improvements are carried by some sub-Saharan countries, including South Africa (65th place, up 10 points), Ethiopia (120th, up 10 points) and Côte d’Ivoire (106th, up 9 points). These are countries that manage to harmonize the government’s efforts with those of the private sector in the area.
At the top of the standings, seven countries reveal themselves as true champions for their ability to leverage investments in information and communications technology (ICT): Singapore (1), Finland (2nd), the Sweden (3rd), Norway (4th), the US (5th), the Netherlands (6th) and Switzerland (7th). It is also countries that, early on, had adopted ICT enthusiastically.
According to the study called “Innovation in the Digital Economy”, this economic foresight should be paid to these countries during the current transition to “the fourth industrial revolution.” The digital economy is indeed in the center of this revolution, characterized by an unprecedented improvement in processing capabilities and a more democratic access to knowledge.
“The future of countries, companies and people will depend more than ever of their choice or not to embrace digital technology,” the report warns. The more a country is prepared to networks, the more it produces and creates wealth for its population, he noted further.
Nearly 75% of the countries listed in the index this year improved their score in 2016. Why not Haiti?