articles | 03 March 2017

Cyprus ranks 22nd among EU members on Digital Economy

Cyprus ranks 22nd in DESI 2017, the Digital Economy and Society Index, published recently by the European Commission.

DESI is a tool presenting the performance of the 28 Member States in a wide range of areas, from connectivity and digital skills to the digitisation of businesses and public services.

Compared to last year, Cyprus showed significant progress in Connectivity. The delivery of online public services is close to EU average. Despite the fact that internet users engage in a wide variety of online activities, low levels of digital skills risk acting as a brake to the further development of its digital economy and society.

Cyprus belongs to the cluster of low performing countries, out of the three clusters were created based on the DESI score.

High performing countries are the 9 EU Member States with the highest DESI score. These are Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Estonia.

Medium performing countries have close to average DESI scores. These are Austria, Germany, Malta, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Latvia.

Low performing countries are the 9 Member States at the bottom of the list. These are Slovakia, Hungary, Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.

The Digital Economy and Society Index is a composite index measuring progress in digital through five components:

1 Connectivity Fixed Broadband, Mobile Broadband, Broadband speed and prices
2 Human Capital Basic Skills and Internet Use, Advanced skills and Development
3 Use of Internet Citizens` use of Content, Communication and Online Transactions
4 Integration of Digital Technology Business digitisation and eCommerce
5 Digital Public Services eGovernment

According to the DESI data, Cyprus performs as follows:

1) Connectivity: In Cyprus more harmonised spectrum has become available and mobile broadband uptake is rising. NGA coverage is progressing, but the increase in the take up of broadband is slow, as prices are still relatively high.

2) Human Capital: More people are online, but skills levels remain low across all indicators.

3) Use of Internet: Cypriots are active users of social networks, video calls and online content. Nevertheless, they engage in online banking and shopping activities much less than other Europeans.

4) Integration of Digital Technology: Cyprus is progressing slowly. Companies engage in the use of social media and trade online, but are less prone to the take up of new technologies such as cloud and RFID.

5) Digital Public Services: Cyprus has progressed in Open Data. The number of eGovernment usersis also progressing, but improvements in the delivery of services have stalled.

Overall the EU has progressed and improved its digital performance by 3 percentage points compared to last year1, but progress could be faster and the picture varies across Member States (the digital gap – between the most and least digital countries – is 37 percentage points, compared to 36 percentage points in 2014).

Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands lead the DESI this year followed by Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Ireland, Estonia, and Austria. The top-three EU digital players are also the global leaders, ahead of South Korea, Japan and the United States. Slovakia and Slovenia are the EU countries which have progressed the most.

Despite some improvements, several Member States including Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, are still lagging behind in their digital development compared to the EU average.

When it comes to the specific areas measured by the index, the EU perfoms as follows:

A total of 76% of European homes can access high-speed broadband (at least 30 Mbps) and in some Member States a significant proportion of these households can already access networks capable of providing 100 Mbps or more. Over 25% of households have taken up a subscription to fast broadband.Mobile data subscriptions are increasing: from 58 subscribers per 100 people in 2013 to 84 in 2016 and 4G mobile services cover 84% of the EU population.

The EU has more graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics than before (19 graduates per 1000 people in their 20s). There are more ICT specialists in the workforce (3.5% in 2015 as opposed to 3.2% in 2012).

Almost half of Europeans (44%) still lack basic digital skills such as using a mailbox, editing tools or installing new devices.
79% of Europeans go online at least once per week, up by 3 percentage points on 2016 – 74% in Cyprus
78% of internet users play or download music, films, pictures or games – 86% in Cyprus
70% of European internet users read news online (64% in 2013) – 73% in Cyprus
63% use social networks (57% in 2013) – 79% in Cyprus
66% shop online (61% in 2013) – 38% in Cyprus
59% use online banking (56% in 2013) – 37% in Cyprus
39% use internet to make calls (33% in 2013) – 72% in Cyprus

European businesses are increasingly adopting digital technologies, such as the use of business software for electronic information sharing (from 26% in 2013 to 36% of businesses in 2015 – 43% in Cyprus) or sending electronic invoices (from 10% in 2013 to 18% of in 2016 – 6% in Cyprus ).
E-commerce by SMEs also grew slightly (from 14% in 2013 to 17% of SMEs in 2016 – 12% in Cyprus).
However, less than half of these companies sell to another EU Member State.

Finally, according to DESI 34% of internet users submitted forms to their public administration online instead of handing in a paper copy (up from 27% in 2013 ) – 29% in Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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