The European Center for Digital Competitiveness publishes the Digital Riser Report 2020

In the post-Covid-19 world, digital technologies will play a major role – whether it is in video conferencing, redesigning supply chains or finding more efficient ways to organise processes in companies and governments. In this study, we look at how governments have managed and navigated the transition driven by digital technologies between 2017 and 2019.

We have analysed two factors: how much progress countries have made relative to their global peers in the last three years, and the best practices of the top Digital Risers 2020 in ten country groups. As such, we highlight developments and initiatives that may inform political decision-makers around the world on which practices to implement, based on what has proven successful in their region and beyond.

The top Digital Risers in major regions indicate that digital incumbents face new, dynamic competitors

› France, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines are among the top Digital Risers worldwide. These countries may not be the first examples that come to mind when it comes to digital, but their underlying policies implemented in the last three years show a strong and comprehensive push towards digital transformation, which has created significant results.
› While countries such as the United States, Sweden or Singapore are often perceived as digital champions, our findings indicate that they are not necessarily dynamic Digital Risers. Only Singapore has managed to improve its relative position in the last three years. In contrast, the United Stated and Sweden have actually lost ground over the same period.
› When analysing the two digital superpowers, namely the United States and China, our analysis shows that China has gained in digital competitiveness (+50) while the United States has lost strength in the last three years (-33). For both nations, the main driver for this development is found in the ecosystem dimension of the ranking.

The top Digital Risers around the world have invested in talent and made innovation and entrepreneurship very feasible for companies

› Indonesia and the Dominican Republic, for example, have invested significantly in digital education. Indonesia started a digital talent scholarship programme to provide certifications to 20,000 digital talents, whilst the Dominican Republic started the “One Computer” initiative to give every child access to a laptop at school.
› Other success factors pertinent to Digital Risers include their ability to attract international talent, and so countries such as the Philippines, with their start-up visa programme, and Indonesia, France and Latvia represent particular success stories in this regard.
› Digital Risers have made it easy, quick and cheap to start companies. Azerbaijan, for instance, has reduced the time to start a company, from over 3 days to less than 1 day, and Latvia has introduced special tax and funding regimes to support young companies.

The top Digital Risers have followed comprehensive, swiftly-implemented plans along a long-term vision

› Most Digital Risers have shared a deliberate and comprehensive government programme with top-level support, such as La French Tech in France, or the ICT Strategy 2023 and Saudi Vision 2030, respectively, in Saudi Arabia.
› Start-ups have been a key focus area of Digital Risers. Their growth has been supported by large-scale initiatives, for example the J-Startup Program in Japan or
the 1000 start-ups movement in Indonesia.
› Digital Risers have invested in technology and start-ups. France, for example, has set up a new 5 billion Euro fund, and Armenia now supports start-ups with up to 50,000€.

Download Digital Riser Report 

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