SA’s ICT infrastructure surprisingly good

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its Global Information Technology Report 2013 on 10 April, revealing that South Africa is performing above average when it comes to ICT infrastructure and digital content.

The Global Information Technology Report 2013 features the latest results of the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), offering an overview of the current state of ICT readiness in the world.

This year’s coverage includes a record number of 144 economies, accounting for over 98 percent of global GDP.

According to the report, South Africa ranks at number 59 out of 144 economies when it comes to ICT infrastructure and digital content.

The infrastructure and digital content variable reflects a country’s development of ICT infrastructure (including mobile network coverage, international Internet bandwidth, secure Internet servers, and electricity production) as well as the accessibility of digital content.

The following list shows how South Africa performed on each of the individual categories:

  • Electricity production (kWh/capita) – 45 out of 144 economies
  • Mobile network coverage (population coverage) – 40 out of 144 economies
  • International Internet bandwidth (kb/s per user) – 66 out of 144 economies
  • Secure Internet servers (per million users in population) – 54 out of 144 economies
  • Accessibility of digital content – 85 out of 144 economies

This shows that South Africa performs well when it comes to electricity production and mobile network coverage (which is at 99.8%), but our ranking is dragged down by poor access to digital content.

How ICT infrastructure and digital content is measured

Electricity production (Electricity production (kWh) per capita)

Electricity production is measured at the terminals of all alternator sets in a station. In addition to hydropower, coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power generation, it covers generation by geothermal, solar, wind, and tide and wave energy as well as that from combustible renewables and waste.

Production includes the output of electricity plants designed to produce electricity only, as well as that of combined heat and power plants. Total electricity production is then divided by total population.

Sources: The World Bank, World Development Indicators Online (accessed November 28, 2012); US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The World Factbook (accessed November 28, 2012)

Mobile network coverage rate (Percentage of total population covered by a mobile network signal)

This indicator measures the percentage of inhabitants who are within range of a mobile cellular signal, irrespective of whether or not they are subscribers.

This is calculated by dividing the number of inhabitants within range of a mobile cellular signal by the total population. Note that this is not the same as the mobile subscription density or penetration.

Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU), ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database 2012 (December 2012 edition)

International Internet bandwidth (International Internet bandwidth (kb/s) per Internet user)

International Internet bandwidth is the sum of capacity of all Internet exchanges offering international bandwidth measured in kilobits per second (kb/s).

Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU), ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database 2012 (December 2012 edition)

Secure Internet servers (Secure Internet servers per million population)

Secure Internet servers are servers using encryption technology in Internet transactions.

Sources: The World Bank, World Development Indicators Online (accessed November 28, 2012); national sources

Accessibility of digital content

In your country, how accessible is digital content (e.g., text and audio-visual content, software products) via multiple platforms (e.g., fixed-line Internet, wireless Internet, mobile network, satellite)?

Source: World Economic Forum, Executive Opinion Survey, 2011 and 2012 editions

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SA’s ICT infrastructure surprisingly good