Next week, on 30 November 2015, ITU will release the annual ICT Development Index (IDI), the most accurate global analysis of information and communication technology (ICT) development. The IDI is a powerful benchmark that helps countries and development partners track their progress and identify gaps so that ICTs can reach their full potential as drivers of socio-economic development for all.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, recognizes the great potential of ICTs to improve socio-economic development. The world is moving faster and faster towards a digital society: in order to connect everyone and to create a truly inclusive information society, we need comparable and high-quality data and statistics to measure progress.
The IDI is a unique, impartial, highly reliable benchmark that is widely used, not just by policy makers and other UN agencies, but by the world’s telecoms operators, equipment manufacturers and ICT service providers, the global investment community, and experts in academia.
The IDI monitors and compares ICT access, use and skills around the world, allowing countries to track their ICT development progress year-on-year, as well as measuring themselves against global scores. Additionally, the IDI highlights the development potential of ICTs, which can help achieve development goals, such as the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as progress made towards achieving the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) targets.
How the IDI works
IDI scores are calculated from three component sub-indices. The access sub-index measures ICT readiness, reflecting the level of ICT infrastructure and access. The use sub-index captures ICT intensity, reflecting the level of use of ICTs in the society. The skills sub-index gathers information on ICT capability or skills, which is critical to leveraging the full potential of new technologies to boost socio-economic development.
The IDI is based on 11 indicators which track different ICTs to generate a well-rounded picture of ICT access, use and skills, as well as providing insights into emerging technology trends. The indicators are selected based on a set of criteria: they must be relevant to both developed and developing countries, the required data must be globally available and of a good quality, and finally, they must be statistically well-balanced. To ensure that the IDI remains the world’s most trusted ICT development index, ITU uses figures provided by official sources from its Member States.
The conceptual framework and methodology has remained much the same since the IDI was first published in 2009. A recent independent assessment of the IDI confirmed its very high statistical reliability and the soundness of the IDI methodology and its indicators. The assessment concluded that the IDI was developed using international quality standards and tested using state-of-the-art statistical analyses.
Commitment to excellence
The IDI is improving year-on-year as more and better data become available, and may change over time to reflect technological developments. For example, fixed-telephone lines are considered basic infrastructure but are becoming less relevant with the rapid proliferation of mobile. Similarly, broadband is listed as an indicator in the ‘use sub-index’ as it is considered to be an advanced technology. In the future, it may be seen as essential and be transferred to the ‘access sub-index’.
ITU will continue to develop the IDI to ensure that its Members can access the latest and most relevant global data, helping them to achieve their ICT development goals.
The ICT Development Index is the core feature of the Measuring the Information Society Report. The 15th edition of the report will be launched on 30 November 2015, on the first day of the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS) 2015, in Hiroshima, Japan. The Report, which has been published annually since 2009, features key ICT data and benchmarking tools to measure the information society, including the ICT Development Index (IDI). The IDI 2015 captures the level of ICT developments in 167 economies worldwide and compares progress made since the year 2010. The Report assesses IDI findings at the regional level and highlights countries that rank at the top of the IDI and those that have improved their position in the overall IDI rankings most dynamically since 2010.
Mr. Brahima Sanou (@ITU_BDTDirector) was elected Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau by the Plenipotentiary Conference, 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was re-elected at the 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, Republic of Korea in October 2014.