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The United Arab Emirates sits atop among its GCC peers in The Network Readiness Index 2015, which forms a part of the Global Information Technology Report 2015, co-published by the World Economic Forum, Insead and Cornell University, with the support of Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company and Cisco.

The ranking lists three GCC countries in the top 30 list globally for the third consecutive year. The UAE comes on the 23rd slot on the global ranking followed by Qatar at 27 and Bahrain at the 30th position.

The UAE particularly has made continuous progress year-on-year underling its role as the regional leader when it comes to information and communication technology (ICT). The country stood 25th in 2013, 24th in 2014 and 23rd in 2015 world ranking.

“Spectacular progress has been made in both in the environment pillar (business climate and regulatory environment in particular) as well as on the usage front (in which business innovation capacities have improved significantly). The UAE is also a typical example of how the growth of talents and skills is key to improving competitiveness, as the country has moved from a worldwide ranking of 33rd to 23rd on that pillar,” said Bruno Lanvin, co-editor of the report, Executive Director, Global Indices, Insead.

Saudi Arabia comes 35th on the list and Oman 42nd in the top 50, demonstrating that they continue to embrace ICT to boost their national competitiveness.

“GCC countries continue to perform well in the global ICT arena, with three countries in the global top 30,” said Bahjat El Darwiche , Partner at Strategy&, and leader of the firm’s Communication, Media, and Technology practice in the Middle-East.

“However, opportunity exists for the region to enhance its ICT competitiveness. Several countries have slipped in the last year with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt all regressing by up to four ranks in the last year.”

In contrast, countries in the Levant and North Africa still lag behind and face challenges to fully leverage ICT, including Morocco (78), Egypt (94), Lebanon (99) and Algeria (120).

Data from the report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which benchmarks 143 economies in terms of their capacity to prepare for, use and leverage ICTs, suggest that the gap between the best and worst performing economies is widening.

Those in the top 10 per cent have seen twice the level of improvement since 2012 as those in the bottom 10 per cent.