The competitiveness of SA’s IT industry has slipped six places in the past year, from 37th to 43rd, according to the influential Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The country scored 35,3 out of 100 in the index.
The study, now in its third year, assesses and compares the IT industry environments of 66 countries, including SA, to determine the extent to which they enable IT sector competitiveness.
SA’s shift from 37 in 2008 to 43 in 2009 can be contributed to changes in the country’s performance as well as to improvements in the sources of data used to measure some indicators, the EIU says.
The country performed strongest in the business environment, scoring 74,9, and in the legal environment, with 63,5 out of a possible 100 points. Areas for improvement include research & development at 13,2 and human capital at 31,8. The top five countries in Middle East & Africa are Israel at 64,3; SA with 35,3; Saudi Arabia with 33,9; with Turkey 33,8; and Egypt with 26,8.
The EIU says some figures differ significantly from 2008 to 2009. For example, SA’s IT infrastructure score rose from 8,4 to 17,8 and the legal environment decreased from 33,5 to 13,2.
The EIU says there are six factors work together to create a sound environment for the IT sector: an ample supply of skilled workers; an innovation-friendly culture; world-class technology infrastructure; a robust legal regime that protects intellectual property; a stable, open, and competitive economy; and government leadership that strikes the right balance between promoting technology and allowing market forces to work.
Countries that perform well in these six “competitiveness enablers” generally are home to high-performance IT industries.
The study, which was sponsored by the Business Software Alliance, is intended to provide a roadmap for governments in addressing their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to supporting a strong domestic IT sector. — Staff reporter, TechCentral