Report: U.S. takes top slot as global IT leader

After a one-year hiatus, the United States regained first place in worldwide IT readiness in 2005, according to an annual global IT progress report by the World Economic Forum.

The rankings of 115 countries are based on a Networked Readiness Index measuring the ability to benefit from IT and communications advances. The index assesses physical infrastructure and the IT usage and capabilities of stakeholders such as individuals, business and government.

The United States had dropped to number four in the rankings in 2004 after five years in the top position. Forum officials said at the time that the United States fell from first place because other countries were showing more rapid progress that year.

Singapore was ranked number one in 2004, and dropped into second place in 2005. Also among the top ten last year were Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Canada, Taiwan, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, listed from third to 10th place, respectively.
The United States improved in the latest report due to acknowledgement of its robust IT infrastructure, report author Augusto Lopez-Claros said in an interview posted on the forum's Web site.

"The United States has been an information and communications technology powerhouse for many, many years," Lopez-Claros said in the interview. It has an "enormous pipeline of innovation" and strong collaboration between the IT academic and business communities, he said.

Other high-ranked Asian countries were Hong Kong, 11th, Korea, 4th, Australia, 15th, and Japan, 16th.

Among Latin American countries, the top-ranked in IT networks was Chile, listed at 29th.

In the Middle East, Israel was ranked 19th and the United Arab Emirates, 28th.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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