Sweden among EU's most advanced digital economies: Official ranking

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Sweden among EU's most advanced digital economies: Official ranking
File photo of a woman working remotely in Sweden. Photo: Martina Holmberg/TT

Sweden is one of the most advanced digital economies in the European Union alongside Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, a new EU ranking shows.


The European Commission's Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2018 paints a positive picture of the uptake of technology in the Nordic nation.

Sweden performed best in the Human Capital category thanks to its high spread of basic digital skills, as well as strong advanced/development skills among the population. The vast majority in Sweden use the internet at least once a week and a very large proportion of the labour force has some form of digital skills, according to the report.

Sweden also registered one of the highest shares of ICT specialists as a proportion of total employment (6.3 percent), behind only Finland (6.6 percent), and significantly stronger when compared to countries like Greece (1.4 percent) and Romania (2.0 percent) at the lower end. The average rate across the EU is 3.5 percent of employment.

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The tech-savvy Swedes aren't afraid to use the internet for important tasks either. A high share (90 percent) bank online, compared to Bulgaria at the other end of the spectrum, where only nine percent do so. Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have the most active internet users in general.

Other areas where Sweden excelled include integration of digital technology (business digitization and exploitation of e-commerce), and the extent of its digital public services. As many Sweden-based readers will already know, it is common to submit forms to government agencies online, and the DESI index says more than 80 percent of internet users in Sweden do so. The EU average is much lower at 58.5 percent.

The Swedish government's minister for digital development said that despite his country's strong performance, there is still work to be done.

"The public sector remains a big challenge. There we need to move up a gear and offer better digital services within healthcare for example and other contact with agencies. We also need to continue to work actively to manage the expansion of fast broadband to the countryside," Peter Eriksson said in a statement.

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Connectivity to fixed (non-mobile) broadband was one of the few areas in the DESI index in which Sweden was not a leader, lagging behind the likes of Belgium, the Netherlands, Malta and Denmark. It is however a leader in mobile broadband connectivity.


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