The Philippines Emerges as this Year’s Biggest Mover Across Southeast Asian Economies in the Network Readiness Index 2022
Manila, Philippines – The Philippines emerges as this year’s biggest mover across Southeast Asian economies in the Network Readiness Index (NRI) 2022 with a ranking of 71st globally, an improvement by 12 positions from last year’s rank, standing out as one of the economies displaying an improvement in network readiness not only in the region, but in the overall NRI rankings.
First launched with the World Economic Forum in 2002, the NRI is an in-depth analysis of 131 countries’ performance across four dimensions of digital readiness – Technology, People, Governance, and Impact – using 58 different indicators. This year’s report, titled ‘Stepping into the new digital era: how and why digital natives will shape the world’, is published by the Portulans Institute and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
While the divide between the Philippines and the top performers in the Asia & Pacific region is still wide, the economy has made significant progress in key areas of Technology and Governance. It also stands out among its lower middle-income group peers in each of the four dimensions of digital readiness, demonstrating greater than expected performance given its level of economic development.
The Philippines achievement is reflective of the region’s strengths, displaying relatively high levels of ICT usage by individuals, and generating notable economic impact as a result of its participation in the network economy. Room for improvement remains in the areas of more expansive use of digital payment by all segments of society and persistent digital divides across gender and socioeconomic status.
The country’s performance in the NRI was presented by Portulans Institute during the virtual regional launch on November 16, 2022, organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) project, Portulans Institute, and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, with media partner BusinessWorld.
The presentation was followed by a panel discussion of speakers from top government officials and representatives from the private and civil society. The NRI affirmed the country’s efforts in e-commerce, e-governance, cloud computing, and data sharing to improve financial inclusion and use of digital services and payments. However, access to the internet and digital technology remains a big challenge especially in rural communities. Trust in terms of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning needs to be improved for the country to benefit from digitalization.
The Philippines is seen to continue to improve its NRI performance in the coming years as the national government prioritizes digitalization initiatives and programs, complemented by a large number of digital natives comprising about 40 percent of the country’s population.
“Gen-Z and millennials are digital natives who are pointing to the direction of our digital futures. The shape of business and society tomorrow is being influenced by digital technologies in ways that we are only starting to understand today,” said co-founder and President of Portulans Institute, Dean of Oxford Saïd and co-author of the report, Soumitra Dutta.
“The NRI is a valuable tool that provides better metrics and insights into creating a safe, inclusive and trusted digital future for businesses and society,” he added.
Bruno Lanvin, co-founder and Director of Portulans Institute and co-author of the report added that recent trends indicate that future-readiness will largely rely on three major currencies: data, talent, and learning. “On all those fronts, we are only seeing the beginning of what tomorrow will bring. The future is still very young, and we all have a role to play in shaping it into the future we want.”
The United States is leading the world when it comes to affordable and accessible technology that makes life easier for its people and improves its economy, closely followed by Singapore and Sweden, as set out in this year’s NRI Report.
USAID through the BEACON project is enhancing the Philippines’ digital ecosystem with public and private sector partnerships by leveraging innovations and increasing investment in ICT to make the country’s digital infrastructure and related services more accessible, affordable, and secure.