Digital Planet > On the Record > Which Economies Showed the Most Digital Progress in 2020?

Which Economies Showed the Most Digital Progress in 2020?

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Ajay Bhalla, and Ravi Chaturvedi discuss this question in their latest article in Harvard Business Review

December 18, 2020

Singapore urban skyline at dusk.
The Digital Intelligence Index ranks Singapore as one of the strongest digital economies of 2020, alongside Hong Kong and South Korea.

Now more than ever, digital capabilities are essential to ensure a country’s growth and economic resilience. But how do different economies compare as far as the current state and ongoing momentum of their digital development? And how have these factors impacted their experiences during the pandemic?

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Fletcher Dean of Global Business, Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions, and Ravi Chaturvedi, Director of Research at Digital Planet and the IBGC, share key insights from the latest edition of their Digital Intelligence Index. The research report offers a comprehensive analysis of 90 economies based on 160 key indicators of digital development and segments the world’s economies into four distinct zones: Stand Out, Stall Out, Break Out, and Watch Out.

In their latest article in Harvard Business Review, Chakravorti, Bhalla, and Chaturvedi describe the key priorities for policymakers in each of these four groups, discuss how this analysis has — or hasn’t — correlated with countries’ economic performance over the last year, and provide several high-level insights around how the most successful countries are pursuing digital evolution.

While every country is unique and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, this analysis provides a useful framework for policymakers to better understand their own level of digital development, and explore opportunities for further growth.

So what does it take to be a Stand Out economy? While every case is different, Digital Planet’s analysis suggests that the most successful of these countries prioritized:

Based on analyses from the Digital Intelligence Index, the team found that successful Break Out economies prioritized:

Stall Out economies are characterized by those that have mature digital landscapes, but which exhibit less momentum for continued advancement. In part, this is likely to due to the natural slowing of growth that accompanies maturity. Many in this zone have also intentionally chosen to slow their growth in order to ensure that they grow responsibly and inclusively. To regain momentum (without sacrificing these values), Stall Out Economies should prioritize:

The Digital Intelligence Index ranks Hungary as one of the Watch Out digital economies, alongside Ethiopia, Peru, Greece, and others.

Finally, Watch Out Economies — which includes countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Southern Europe — are characterized by shortcomings in both existing digital capabilities and momentum for future development. Countries in the Watch Out zone can look to Break Out economies as role models and benchmarks for how to use digital growth as a lever for economic resilience. Particularly for those that demonstrate emerging or sustained digital demand, Watch Out economies should prioritize:

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