The Bahamas has been ranked third in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region in the Digital Evolution Index (DEI) of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
The Bahamas scored higher than Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina and Mexico, which all appeared in the top 10.
The only two countries above The Bahamas were Puerto Rico in second position and Chile at the top.
However, in terms of this country’s momentum, The Bahamas is number 20.
According to the report, the DEI is a “data-driven study of the pace of digital growth in 24 LAC countries across four key drivers of supply, demand, institutional environment and innovation”.
The report explained that the data points include 99 unique indicators that were measured across the period 2008–2017.
“The region is experiencing a digital growth spurt,” the report states.
“Nearly half of the 24 LAC markets included in the study demonstrate moderate momentum. A few countries are advancing rapidly: Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia are leading the way, both in the state of digital evolution and their rate of progress, i.e. — digital momentum.”
The Bahamas’ ranking as the number three country bodes well for the government’s ambition to become the ‘Silicon Valley of the Caribbean’, but the country, according to the DEI, must increase its momentum in order to remain competitive.
“The competitiveness of a country’s digital economy is a function of two factors: its current state of digitalization, as determined by the interplay of the four drivers mentioned above and, more importantly, its pace of digitalization over time, as measured by the growth rate of a country’s digitalization score over a 10-year period,” the report notes.
“This pace of digitalization, which we refer to as ‘momentum’, is a lead indicator of a country’s future digital potential and prospects.
“While LAC has tremendous potential for digital growth, it is in the middle band of digitalization globally. Governments and businesses need to do a lot more to advance LAC to the state and pace of global digital exemplars such as Estonia, Israel, New Zealand and the UK, particularly in terms of improving digital infrastructure, fostering innovation, expanding digital and financial inclusion and promoting digital economy friendly policies.”
One of the factors taken into consideration by the DEI is the banked and unbanked population, and The Bahamas has recently been contending with a growing unbanked population due to the scarcity of banks on the Family Islands. However, the Central Bank of The Bahamas and innovative companies are working quickly to solve this problem.