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Bangladesh a breakout star when it comes to using technology

  • Published at 05:56 pm December 7th, 2020
Digital evolution Mastercard

Building upon earlier editions in 2014 and 2017, this year’s index paints a picture of global digital development

Bangladesh is amongst a handful of countries that have been using digital technologies to transform its economy, said a recent study by the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Mastercard.

The other countries that are leveraging technology well are Kenya, Vietnam, Rwanda and Argentina, according to the Digital Intelligence Index, which charts the progress economies have made in advancing their digitalisation, fostering trust and integrating connectivity into the lives of billions. 

Building upon earlier editions in 2014 and 2017, this year’s index paints a picture of global digital development, sheds insight on key factors driving change and momentum, and unpacks what this means for economies facing the challenges of a global pandemic and post-pandemic future. 

Notably across Asia Pacific, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, South Korea and Chinese Taipei are amongst the most digitally dynamic economies. 

South Korea and Chinese Taipei have significantly outperformed the OECD growth rate in Q2 2020 amidst the global lockdown. These economies feature high levels of available talent, active research & development collaboration between industry and academia, and a strong record of creating and bringing digital products into the mainstream.  

This year’s index looks at two components: Digital Evolution and Digital Trust. 

Digital Evolution captures an economy’s historical momentum from the physical past to the digital present. Digital Trust is the bridge that connects its journey from the digital present to an intelligent and inclusive digital future.

Mapping 95 per cent of the world’s online population and drawing on 12 years of data, the Digital Evolution scorecard measured 160 indicators in 90 economies across four key pillars: institutional environment, demand conditions, supply conditions, and the capacity for innovation and change. 

These segment into four categories: Stand Out, Stall Out, Break Out and Watch Out.

Bangladesh was put in the ‘Break Out’ category along with mainland China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. 

The countries in the ‘Break Out’ category are evolving rapidly with momentum and significant headroom for growth that is highly attractive to investors.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka and Pakistan were in the ‘Watch Out’ category, meaning the economies have a number of infrastructure gaps. 

Despite this, young people are showing enthusiasm for a digital future with the increased use of social media and mobile payments. 

COVID-19 has advanced digitalisation across the Asia Pacific by at least five years in as many months, only serving to further accelerate the development of the digital ecosystems across the region, said Matthew Driver, executive vice-president of services for Mastercard in the Asia Pacific region.

With rising levels of consumer trust and engagement and growing digitisation in the small business segment, all deeply supported by proactive enabling actions from governments, the opportunities ahead for the region’s digital economy are immense, he added.

The pandemic may be the purest test of the world’s progress towards digitalisation, said Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at Fletcher, in a press release. 

“We have a clearer view on how dynamic digital economies can contribute to economic resiliency during a time of unparalleled global turmoil and can be positioned for recovery and change,” he added.

Never before has there been such an acute need to understand the factors that drive digitalization and digital trust, said Ajay Bhalla, president of Mastercard’s Cyber & Intelligence.

With that knowledge, businesses and governments can work together to help all 7.6 billion people around the world benefit from the vast opportunities a digitally advanced economy can bring.  

“Whilst much remains uncertain today, it is clear that digital success will be a key building block in our collective recovery,” he added.

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