SA is the third most capable African country when it comes to leveraging the benefits of technology to improve the lives of its citizens and grow its economy, behind Mauritius and Tunisia. Worldwide, SA is in an unimpressive 72nd place.
This is according to the 2012 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Information and Technology Report.
The report says sub-Saharan Africa remains the most poorly connected region on earth, with a distinct lack of access to affordable information and communication technology (ICT) and a severe lack of skills.
Subtitled “Living in a Hyperconnected World”, the report ranks countries on a wide range of criteria and SA performs particularly poorly in some troubling ones. It places 133rd out of 142 countries in terms of the quality of its education and a dismal 138th in terms of the quality of its mathematics and science education.
In terms of the impact of ICT on access to basic services, SA is placed 115th; it’s 100th when comes to Internet access in schools. Regarding the percentage of the population using the Internet, SA is in 108th position.
As for government procurement of cutting-edge technology, SA fares poorly at 103rd, and barely performs any better in terms of tertiary education enrolment rates, where it achieved 102nd position overall, compared to 51st for enrolments at secondary level.
However, it’s not all bad news. According to the report, SA has some of the finest management schools in the world, ranking 13th in this category. It’s also seen to have one of the most effective legal systems when it comes to settling disputes (16th) and also ranks in the top 20 for the number of procedures in place to enforce a contract, levels of software piracy and the efficiency of the legal system when it comes to challenging regulations.
The report groups the nations surveyed into one of four categories. At the top are “advanced” nations, followed by “transitional”, “emerging”, and “constrained”. Alarmingly, SA falls into the last of these categories.
The message from the report is clear: SA not only remains well behind the developed world in terms of connectivity and its ability to leverage technology to develop the economy and improve living standards, but it is no longer even the shining light in Africa. — (c) 2012 TechCentral