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Nepal Ranks 5th in ICT Among SAARC Countries

According to Measuring the Information Society Report published by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in June 2017, Nepal stands fifth in Information Communication Technology (ICT) development among the SAARC countries.

The study was done on the basis of ICT readiness, i.e. infrastructures and reach of IT, ICT usage and ICT capability. Below is the report of the study showing statistics of the SAARC countries:

Rank Country Index (score)
1 Maldives 5.25
2 Sri Lanka 3.99
3 Bhutan 3.69
4 India 3.03
5 Nepal 2.88
6 Bangladesh 2.53
7 Pakistan 2.42
8 Afghanistan 1.95

Also, according to the same report, Iceland is the most developed country in the field of ICT with 8.98 score on the chart. Similarly, Korea stands second with 8.85. The third, fourth and fifth places are taken by Switzerland, Denmark, and the UK respectively with the scores of 8.74, 8.71 and 8.65.

Among 176 countries taken for the study, Nepal stands at 140th position. Among the SAARC countries, Maldives stands at 85th position, Sri Lanka at 117th position, Bhutan at 129th position and India at 134th position. Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan fall behind Nepal on this list standing at 147th, 148th and 159th position respectively.

The 140th position of Nepal in this list is not satisfactory, according to Minprasad Aryal, Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) spokesperson. He added that there can be some satisfaction when only SAARC countries are taken into account, but the fall of Nepal from the 89th position among 152 countries in 2010 to 140th position at present shows that the country is falling behind in development.

While Nepal has made much progress in the field of ICT with the rapid increase in Mobile and Internet users, the reason behind Nepal falling behind on the list is that the other countries have made progress in a much more faster rate than ours.

However, Nepal is third on the basis of the reach of mobile and fixed telephone services. According to the report published in December 2016, the total number of mobile SIM users was 121.23% of the total population and that of fixed telephone users was 3.24%. As per the latest report of NTA however, the total number of mobile SIM users is 131.64% of the total population and that of fixed telephone users is 3.24%.

Aryal mentions that Nepal is falling behind in development when compared with other SAARC countries. He added that it is necessary for NTA to organize programs to bring necessary changes in remote areas of Nepal in the field of telecommunication.

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