Danes lead world in telecoms technology: WEF index

GENEVA Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:25am EDT

A soccer fan of Denmark speaks on the phone inside the stadium before their Euro 2008 Group F qualifying soccer match against Spain in Arhus, Denmark, October 13, 2007. REUTERS/Claus Fisker/Scanpix

A soccer fan of Denmark speaks on the phone inside the stadium before their Euro 2008 Group F qualifying soccer match against Spain in Arhus, Denmark, October 13, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Claus Fisker/Scanpix

GENEVA (Reuters) - Denmark boasts the world's most networked economy, putting it and its Nordic neighbors in a good position to rebound from the current global downturn, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday.

Sweden ranked second in the annual WEF Networked Readiness Index, sponsored by Cisco, which measures information and communications technology availability and use, such as access to mobile phone and Internet services.

The United States placed third, Singapore fourth and Switzerland fifth among the 134 economies listed in the index; poor states including Bangladesh, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Timor-Leste and Chad rated worst.

In the report, the WEF said that investing in telecoms infrastructure and services could help "general competitiveness and progress" and put countries on a better footing to take advantage of an eventual return to economic growth.

High-speed Internet should be now seen as "part of the basic infrastructure of any country and one of the foundations of the knowledge economy," the study said, urging countries ranked low on the index to do all they can to improve their connectivity.

"Mobile communications play a key role in developing economies, crucially facilitating economic growth and development," it said.

Following are some highlights from the index:

TOP 10 - Denmark, Sweden, United States, Singapore, Switzerland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Canada

BOTTOM 10 - Nicaragua, Cambodia, Nepal, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Timor-Leste, Chad

EMERGING ASIA - China ranks 46th; India 54th

LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN - Barbados 36th; Chile 39th; Puerto Rico 42nd; Jamaica 53rd; Costa Rica 56th; Brazil 59th

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA - Mauritius 51st; South Africa 52nd

NORTHERN AFRICA - Tunisia 38th; Egypt 76th; Morocco 86th; Algeria 109th

MIDDLE EAST - Israel 25th; United Arab Emirates 27th; Qatar 29th; Bahrain 37th; Saudi Arabia 40th; Jordan 44th; Oman 50th; Kuwait 57th

(The full report is available on www.weforum.org/gitr)

(Reporting by Laura MacInnis, editing by Tim Pearce)

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