Oman has been placed 50th among 133 countries in the Global IT Report 2009-2010 just released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in recognition of its efforts at creating a sustainable knowledge society by embracing information and communications technology (ICT).
The report notes that the sultanate has established a secure infrastructure and national IT training and capacity building base, and specifically mentions the launch of the official eGovernment Services Portal. Published for the ninth consecutive year and covering 133 countries worldwide and with over 100 indicators and detailed profiles of each of the countries featured, the Global IT Report is regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations.
The Networked Readiness Index (NRI), featured in the report, examines how prepared countries are to use ICT effectively across three component sub-indexes: the general business, regulatory, and infrastructure environment; the readiness of the three key stakeholder groups in a society: individuals, businesses, and governments to use and benefit ICT; and the actual usage of the latest ICTs available.
Oman’s NRI ranking at 50th position is attributed to several key factors, one of them being the United Nations improving its rating criteria, thereby making improvement in NRI rankings more of a challenge. “But more importantly,” a spokesperson for the Information Technology Authority (ITA) said, “Oman has vastly improved its overall Government Readiness Index to the 19th rank, up 20 points from last year. This is due to the Omani government’s prioritisation of ICT, in addition to its efforts in procuring advanced technology products for its IT systems.” ITA is a public authority tasked with implementing the Digital Oman strategy to usher into a knowledge-based economy