To date there are a number of international rankings that evaluate the level of ICT development and the maturity of e-government tools, as well as their development in digital terms in different countries of the world. The most credible ratings include those of the United Nations (UN), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Here you can find detailed descriptions of international rankings in the field of ICT, such as the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), the ICT Development Index (IDI), the Network Readiness Index (NRI), and others. The analysis and dynamics of changes in the performance of Kazakhstan in these rankings are presented.
Since 2001, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) has published the United Nations E-Government Survey every two year. The Survey is the only global report that assesses the e-government development status of all 193 United Nations Member States. It serves as a benchmarking and development tool for countries to learn from each other, identify areas of strength and challenges in e-government and shape their policies and strategies in this area. In addition, the Survey reveals new trends and innovative methods, problems and opportunities for the development of e-government.
The 2004 and 2005 editions of the Survey reflect the country's readiness for e-government. In 2008, because "readiness" was not considered to adequately reflect the need for concrete implementation on the ground, the study shifted its focus from assessing readiness to assessing actual development. In 2014, the "maturity of e-government" was considered outdated, as the goals and objectives of e-government are constantly evolving to meet and exceed the expectations of society (UN DESA, 2014).
The 2018 UN Survey differs from the 2016 edition by improving the methodology and lessons learned from previous publications, contributions and feedback received from Member States, recommendations from third-party evaluations, meeting results, and the latest technological and policy developments. The 2018 edition included a limited number of changes, which are listed below. The Questionnaire for the assessment of government portals and online services (hereinafter-the Questionnaire) was expanded to include the basic principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (hereinafter - SDGs) and a universal coverage. Special attention is paid to Goal 16: accountability, efficiency, reach, openness and reliability.
It is worth noting that one of the criteria for achieving the best result in the E-Government Development Index is the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the UN summit in New York in September 2015. World leaders have adopted an ambitious road map that will guide the sustainable development of all countries over the next 15 years. This Agenda, entitled "Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", identifies 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to promote activities that benefit people, the planet, peace, prosperity and cooperation.
States are encouraged to use the potential of ICTs through public sector-wide policies that are closely linked to broader national policies aimed at achieving the SDGs. To achieve success, it is necessary to use a state-wide approach in relation to ministries and departments, as well as to seek cooperation with non-state actors. Many countries around the world have successfully applied such strategies.
The 2020 Survey highlights the importance of creating conditions for digital transformation, the development of data-driven e-government, and digital government in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN E-government Development Index includes the following sub-indexes:
- Online Service Index (OSI);
- Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII);
- Human Capital Index (HCI).
2020 UN Survey on E-government development
The 2020 Survey highlights the importance of creating conditions for digital transformation, the development of data-driven e-government, and digital government in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To improve the methodology and take into account the lessons learned from the previous editions, the inputs and feedback received by Member States, the recommendations from the external evaluation, the outcomes of the EGMs and the latest technological and policy development, a limited number of changes were introduced in the 2020 Survey as summarized below:
- The Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) calculated with four components instead of five in 2018, due the drop of the “Fixed-telephone subscriptions (per 100 inhabitants)” sub-indicator. For all the four sub-indicators an upper cap threshold of 120 per cent was introduced.
- In the Human Capital Index an upper cap threshold of 100 per cent was introduced for the Gross enrolment ratio sub-indicator.
- The Online Service Questionnaire (OSQ) reviewed the existing questions and added new ones related to justice systems’ online services.
- The EGDI results – which are categorized in Very-High, High, Middle and Low groups – have been further broken down into four equally defined intervals (rating classes), identified by the first, the second and the third quartile, within each group, to provide a more granular cluster analysis of countries with similar performances in each group.
- The pilot assessment of local e-government development has been expanded from 40 cities in 2018 to 100 cities in 2020. The Local Online Service Questionnaire was reviewed and aligned with the OSI methodology.
UN E-government development ranking 2020
The Republic of Korea is the world leader in online services provision (with an OSI value of 1.000) and has the highest EGDI value in Asia. Asia increased its average EGDI value from 0.5779 in 2018 to 0.6373 in 2020, or by 10 per cent, becoming the second most advanced region in e-government development. The Republic of Korea, Singapore and Japan are the best performers in Asia. Denmark has the highest EGDI value globally for the second consecutive Survey and is one of seven countries in Northern Europe and one of five countries in the European Union that are part of the highest (VH) rating class. Estonia recorded the most significant EGDI increase, and Finland improved in all three subindices of the EGDI. Both Sweden and the United Kingdom achieved a higher overall EGDI value through substantial improvement in the technical infrastructure component (TII). The Netherlands is the final European Union member of the VH rating class. Iceland and Norway, both in Northern Europe and ranked twelfth and thirteenth overall, showed improvement in all three EGDI subindices. Australia and New Zealand, the leaders in Oceania, remain in the very high EGDI group (in line with the past two editions of the Survey) and are well placed within the highest (VH) rating class.
Sources: UN Survey on E-Government Development for years 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020.
Kazakhstan in the UN E-government development ranking 2020
In 2020, Kazakhstan ranked 29th, following Canada, among the 193 UN member States, thus rising by 10 positions compared to the results of 2016-2017 and the edition of the Survey in 2018.
The Online Services Index increased by 6.38%, Telecommunication Infrastructure Index - by 22.7%, and Human Capital Index by 5.6%. The largest growth is in the development of telecommunications infrastructure - 22.7%, and in terms of electronic services, Kazakhstan received almost the maximum score - 0.92 out of 1.
Among the CIS countries, Kazakhstan ranks 1st, ahead of Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Armenia.
Kazakhstan ranked 1st among Asian countries on the Open Government Data Index. According to the Online Services Index, Kazakhstan ranked 3rd among Asian countries and 11th in the global ranking.
Among the Asian countries with the highest EGDI, Kazakhstan ranked 6th, following South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Cyprus and the UAE.
Among the landlocked countries, Kazakhstan ranked 1st with the highest EGDI (0.8375). Kazakhstan is the leader within the LLDCs group, followed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, North Macedonia and the Republic of Moldova.
According to the level of development of Local Online Services, Almaty is ranked 29th among 100 cities in the world.
By the level of development of e-participation Kazakhstan rose by 16 positions, taking 26th place. The E-Participation Index shows the involvement of citizens in the decision-making process, transparency and openness of the state's activities, which corresponds to the Kazakhstan's “Listening state”policy.
The Survey is the only global report that assesses the e-government development status of all United Nations Member States. The assessment measures e-government performance of countries relative to one another, as opposed to being an absolute measurement. It recognizes that each country should decide upon the level and extent of its e-government initiatives in keeping with its own national development priorities and achieving the SDGs.
Due to the emergence and rapid development of new digital technologies in the world, the UN reviews and changes the methodology before each assessment. The general methodology of the UN ranking is handled by the «UN E-Government Survey Team of the Digital Government Branch (DGB) of the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)». The calculation methodology is reviewed before publishing each ranking. This method allows covering various new approaches in the implementation and development of E-government.
Sub-indexes: Online Services Index, Human Capital Index and Telecommunications Infrastructure Index
In general, the final index is calculated using the weighted average of three normalized estimations for the three most important dimensions of e-government, namely:
-Online Service Index;
-Telecommunication Infrastructure Index;
-Human Capital Index.
The Online Services Index is calculated according to criteria aimed at studying the availability, functionality and effectiveness, as well as the content of official Internet resources of state bodies. 145 criteria developed specifically for calculating indicators consist of two blocks: criteria for evaluating official Internet resources of state bodies, as well as those of local executive bodies. In addition, according to nature and requirements, the criteria are also divided into two types: content and technical.
The Online Service Index (OSI) based on data collected from an independent Online Service Questionnaire (OSQ), conducted by UNDESA, which assesses the national online presence of all 193 United Nations Member States, complemented by a Member State Questionnaire (MSQ). The survey questionnaire assesses a number of features related to online service delivery, including whole-of-government approaches, open government data, e-participation, multi-channel service delivery, mobile services, usage uptake and digital divides, as well as innovative partnerships through the use of ICTs.
This data is collected by a group of researchers under the supervision of UN DESA through a primary research and collection endeavour
The human capital index consists of 4 sub-indicators:
(I) adult literacy rate;
(II) the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio;
(III) expected years of schooling; and
(IV) average years of schooling
Human Capital Index (HCI) based on data mainly provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNDP.
Digital skills can improve social integration. Therefore, it is necessary to raise the level Of digital skills both among the school children and civil servants in the private and public sectors. In addition, initiatives related to providing assistance in using e-services should be aimed at supporting members of society who cannot independently access online services. The foundation of these efforts is formed by the desire to meet the changing needs of citizens and businesses.
The Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII) is based on data provided by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The indicators are calculated using official data provided by government agencies through the completion of official questionnaires.
The Telecommunication Infrastructure Index is an arithmetic average composite of four indicators:
(I) estimated internet users per 100 inhabitants;
(II) number of mobile subscribers per 100 inhabitants;
(III) active mobile-broadband subscription; and
(IV) number of fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.
The E-Participation Index (EPI) is derived as a supplementary index to the United Nations E-Government Survey. It extends the dimension of the Survey by focusing on the government use of online services in providing information to its citizens or “e-information sharing”, interacting with stakeholders or “e-consultation” and engaging in decision-making processes or “e-decision-making”
The ability to access information and network with the government can also serve as an incentive to involve more people in this process. For example, if vulnerable groups know that they will be heard through electronic participation, they may go online more often. This, in turn, can increase the popularity of other e-government services, as users can get acquainted with their advantages while online. At the same time, those who don't go online or don't know how to use it may feel even more isolated. This is another reason to eliminate a lot of the digital barriers.
The indicator reveals the interaction between the citizen and the government in the process of developing public policies and making decisions on them.
In 2018, Kazakhstan moved from 67th place to 42nd by the E-Participation Index. In 2020, Kazakhstan ranked 26th in the EPI among 193 countries.
The ICT development index (IDI)
Over the past decade, an annual survey has been conducted to assess countries' performance on ICT infrastructure and skills, as well as the ICT price basket index, which tracks and compares the cost and availability of ICT services. The report is published by the International telecommunication Union (ITU) under the title "Measuring the information society", providing the ranking by the ICT development index.
ITU's annual data on the development of the ICT industry shows that progress continues with regard to connectivity and the use of ICTs, and there is a steady increase in the availability of communications due to growth in mobile cellular telephony and, more recently, mobile broadband. The growth of infrastructure, fixed and mobile broadband is driving Internet access and use.
Mobile broadband services are growing rapidly, according to the study. As a proof of this conclusion, the number of mobile broadband contracts in the world exceeds 50 per 100 people, which makes it possible to improve access to the Internet and online services. This trend is being accelerated by the introduction of new mobile technologies, and LTE or better capabilities are now available to most mobile users.
It is worth noting that digital gaps between some countries and regions are increasing. Accordingly, developed countries have a higher number of mobile broadband contracts than developing countries. Mobile broadband contract numbers are much higher in Europe and the Americas than in other regions, and more than three times higher than in Africa. In addition, subscribers in developed countries tend to enjoy greater bandwidth than in developing countries.
The 2017 “Measuring the information society” annual report, prepared by the International Telecommunication Union, was presented at the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS)on 15-16 November 2017 in Tunis. The 2017 IDI index reflects the level of ICT development in 176 countries.
According to the results of the 2017 ITU report on the ICT development Index, Kazakhstan ranked 52nd. Iceland, South Korea and Switzerland took the top three places in the ranking. Belarus is the leading country in the CIS egion (32nd place), followed by Russia (45th place) and Kazakhstan (52nd place).
According to data published in 2017, Kazakhstan has the highest mobile broadband penetration rate in the CIS region. The country is also a regional leader in computer access and Internet usage.
The ICT development index consists of three sub-indices: Access sub-index, Use sub-index, and Skills sub-index, each of which reflects different aspects and components of the ICT development process. In particular, the IDI is a composite index that includes 11 indicators for monitoring and comparing changes in the field of ICT.
Network Readiness Index (NRI)
The Network Readiness Index (NRI) is a comprehensive indicator of the level of development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in countries around the world. Since 2002, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and INSEAD have published the ranking of countries according to the NRI as part of a special annual series of reports on the development of the information society in the world — "Global information Technology Report". Currently, the country’s performance in the study is considered one of the most important indicators of a country's potential and development opportunities.
According to the report, Kazakhstan moved from 40th place in the 2015 NRI ranking, to 39th place (out of 139 countries) in 2016, while maintaining its traditional leading position in the CIS region. Among the CIS countries, Kazakhstan has the highest index value. This is followed by Russia (4,5), Azerbaijan (4,3), and Armenia (4,3). The top three places in the ranking were taken by Singapore, Finland, and Sweden. There were no publications in 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, a joint press release published by the Portulans Institute and the World Alliance for information technology and services (WITSA) in Washington announced an updated global ranking based on the Network Readiness Index.
In the 2019 version, the compilers provide data for 121 countries based on 62 variables. Country indicators are divided into 4 components: technology, people, governance, and impact. The innovation is that digital technologies are considered in the light of their impact on the development of economies and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (sdgs).
For example, the "Technologies" component is further divided into three sub-indices: access, content, and future technologies. The "People" component consists of sub-indices: individuals, businesses, and authorities. "Governance" includes such sub-indices as trust, regulation, and engagement. Finally, the “Impact” component consists of three sub-indices: economy, quality of life, and contribution to the SDGs.
It should be clarified that all these sub-indices are calculated on the basis of 62 variables, 40 of which are clear quantitative indicators, 12 are composite indices/indicators, and 10 are data from questionnaires and qualitative assessments. At the same time, the ranking compilers use official statistical collections from various international organizations, such as ITU, GSMA, WTO, UNESCO, WEF, OSCE, and others.
Kazakhstan is located in the middle of the ranking, taking the 60th place out of 121 countries with the NRI index value=50.68. Kazakhstan ranks 74th in terms of "Technology", 61st in terms of "People", 66th in terms of "Governance", and in terms of "Impact" Kazakhstan shows relatively good results taking the 39th place in the rating.
Within the "Technology" sub-index, Kazakhstan ranks 25th by the number of households with Internet access, 45th by the price of wearable devices, and is 5th in the world in terms of mobile phone tariffs.
According to the "Content" and "Future Technologies" sub-indices, Kazakhstan is in the top-half of the ranking. To improve the situation, our institutions need to strengthen their efforts to promote the development of mobile applications, obtain copyrights, invest and use promising technologies, and spend on licensed software.
At the same time, Kazakhstan ranks 61st in terms of the "People" component, which characterizes the degree of use of information technologies by society. By the “Authorities” sub-index, Kazakhstan ranks 32nd in terms of public services, and 26th in terms of ICT use and government efficiency.
In terms of "Individuals" sub-index, the country shows relatively good results in terms of “Internet users and "ICT skills "(45th and 50th place, respectively), an excellent indicator of "Adult literacy "(7th place), but a very modest result in "Use of virtual social networks " (92nd place).
Within the "Businesses" sub-index, it is noteworthy that the indicators that characterize the skills of professionals are at a good level (Professionals-34th place, Technical and support specialists-39th place). At the same time, the indicators that characterize the conduct of the business itself (indicators of the Company with websites, Online Commerce, Degree of training, Research and Development Expenses) are low.
The situation is similar in the "Authorities" sub-index. While Kazakhstan ranks 32nd and 26th in terms of "Online public services" and "Using ICT for public efficiency", respectively, the country ranks 100th in terms of "Spending" on research by government authorities and higher education. These indicators allow us to conclude that Kazakhstan still has a relatively high level of personal professionalism among specialists, but modern business practices are seriously lagging behind.
At the same time, according to the "Governance" component, which shows how "Trust", "Regulation" and "Engagement" indicators favorably contribute to the development of the internal network economy, Kazakhstan ranks 66th with a value of 58.84.
The "Trust" sub-index (Kazakhstan ranked 79th place ) characterizes the security factor of citizens and businesses in the context of the national economy, not only in terms of the criminal situation, but also the perception of such important conditions as personal security and private space by society. The “Regulation” sub-index (Kazakhstan ranked 76th) describes the achievements of the state authorities in stimulating participation in the network economy.
Kazakhstan ranks 51st in terms of "Engagement". The situation in Kazakhstan is much better with the digital divide of women, people with disabilities and people with different social status.
The “Impact” sub-index (Kazakhstan – 39th place) assesses the degree of economic effect of participation in the network economy (“Economy” - Kazakhstan ranked 55th place ), Social effect (“Quality of life” - 36th place) and Impact on SDG country indicators (45th place). Kazakhstan’s indicators of this sub-index are in the first half of the ranking, which indicates the country's confident desire to use the benefits of the modern network economy for the prosperity of the entire society.
If analyzing Kazakhstan’s performance in the CIS regional group, our country is considered to have an above-average income level. The leader of the region is the Russian Federation with 48th place in the ranking. Kazakhstan and the Republic of Belarus are ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
As for Kazakhstan specifically, 4 out of 5 indicators almost completely coincide with the group's average, and only one sub-index "Impact" significantly exceeds the average (39th place with the sub-index "Impact" value=59.79, while the average value is 40). According to a comparative analysis of the group with the same level of per capita income, Kazakhstan is firmly established in the middle positions with a large potential for confident growth and improvement of the ranking.
According to the results of the 2020 publication, Kazakhstan ranked 56th among 134 countries. Among the CIS countries, Kazakhstan ranked 3rd, following Russia (48) and Armenia (55). Kazakhstan showed the best results by the “Impact” sub-index (52nd). This is primarily due to low levels of inequality, which contributes to improving the quality of life (36th place), while low education and sustainability are two important factors that hinder contributions to the SDGs (77th place). Kazakhstan occupies almost the same place in the "People" ranking (54th place) with the Government (61st place), which seems to be actively using and developing digital technologies, although it can increase R&D spending. The country has relatively stable levels of Trust (51st) and Inclusivity (48th), but its low level of Regulation – 95th) - especially when it comes to ICTs rather than the general rule of law, has a constraining effect on Governance (57th). The weakest indicator is Technology (67th place), which is the only component in which Kazakhstan is in the lower quartile: Advanced technologies (102nd place).
In general, over the 2012-2016 period , the index value for Kazakhstan increased by 0.6 points, and the country's place in the ranking improved by 16 points. At the same time, the number of countries evaluated in the ranking ranged from 139 to 148 countries. Until 2017, the Network Readiness Index ranked countries by 4 sub-indices: Environment, Readiness, Usage, and Impact.
Since 2019, the ranking sub-indexes have been changed. The team of experts concluded that most existing indexes focus either on infrastructure - from its presence to its availability, adoption, and, in some cases, relevance (for example, the availability of content in a local language), or on individual perceptions of the implementation of one particular technology (for example, artificial intelligence, financial technologies, digital health tools) and, therefore, do not provide country-level data that allows ranking.