The Digital Evolution Index 2017 ranks countries (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/07/these-are-the-worlds-most-digitally-advanced-countries) into four categories:
– Countries that are strangely titled “Stall Out” (i.e. the top scoring countries — e.g. Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and Finland – which “enjoy a high state of digital advancement” but which are considered to have “slowing momentum” – whatever that means); this categorisation echoes the economic category of “developed countries”
– Countries that are titled (also strangely) “Stand Out” – i.e. countries are reasonably digitally advanced but exhibit “high momentum”. These can be considered the equivalent of “countries that have some chance of catching up with developed economies, provided they keep up their current speed of development and provided also that countries which are further ahead keep a slowed down pace of development”
– Countries that are titled “Break Out” (i.e., low-scoring in their current states of digitalization but are “evolving rapidly”). In terms of traditional economic terminology, these countries can be considered the equivalent of “emerging economies that never emerge”, primarily because they are “held back by relatively weak infrastructure and poor institutional quality” – in other words, they are held back by their culture and consequent political structure. Examples of such countries include China, Malaysia, Bolivia, Kenya, and Russia. India is included in this category, though it comes in even lower than Mexico, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines and Morocco.
– Lastly there is the category of “Watch Out countries” (i.e. with low state of digitalization and low momentum; in some cases, even “moving backward”). These are the equivalent of Least Developed Countries.
The Index prioritises speed over achievement, which is an interesting way to look at things – but current speed can be a deceptive criterion as the primary measure, because everyone slows down sometimes and everyone speeds up sometimes. The distance between the different categories, as well as the distance between the various countries within the categories, is an equally important criterion – and that is underplayed here.