GCI 2019: Key Takeaways from Global Connectivity Index 2019

ByKevin Zhang

December 9, 2019

Kevin Zhang

This year’s Global Connectivity Index report has landed rich with insights into the latest global ICT trends and how individual nations have performed this year in terms of ICT maturity and build out.

Having already defined its value as a reference point for helping to plan national digital journeys, GCI 2019 continues to track the worldwide evolution towards a global digital economy – an economy that in 2018 we predicted will double in value thanks to AI to hit US$23 trillion by 2025.

And we believe that every nation – and every individual, home, and organization – should benefit from the goldmine of productivity and socioeconomic benefits that ICT can deliver.

What Is the Huawei GCI?

While this post focuses on the significance of ICT build out and the global trends GCI 2019 identifies, here’s a quick introduction for those of you who aren’t familiar with the annual report.

Now in its fifth year, the Huawei GCI measures the ICT maturity of 79 nations, which combined account for 95% of global GDP and 84% of the world’s population. Its methodology attributes each nation a GCI score and rank based on 40 indicators spanning four tech enablers: broadband, cloud, IoT, and AI.

GCI 2019 incorporates data from all GCI reports since 2015, giving a historical context that continues to consolidate the insights the report delivers. I’ve highlighted a few of the key takeaways for GCI 2019 near the end of this post, and you can read more about the background to the report in our GCI FAQ.

So Why Is ICT Maturity Important?

The economic success and productivity gains made possible by digital transformation depend on investment in ICT infrastructure, a fact that’s not lost on policymakers or industry leaders. Nevertheless, we’re still seeing uneven ICT development throughout the world and an increase in the ICT version of the Matthew Effect: advanced nations are pulling further ahead and widening the digital divide – a trend that we’re helping to address with our digital inclusion initiative TECH4ALL.

When it comes to ICT maturity, it isn’t just a case of flexing financial muscle and throwing investment at technology projects – guided investment is necessary to forge a strong digital economy that reflects current economic and technological realities. And investing effectively requires an understanding of how ICT maturity influences productivity, a knowledge of where the tipping points for growth sit, and an insight into national ICT development in the context of an evolving global ecosystem that’s increasingly collaborative.

Major Themes in GCI 2019

This year’s report evolves the concept of Intelligent Connectivity, the powerful convergence of broadband and 5G, cloud, IoT, and AI – a convergence that represents the next stage of digital transformation.

Underpinned by the emergence of AI, Intelligent Connectivity is shaping a future where everything is beginning to act, react, and collaborate wirelessly and seamlessly with human preferences, commands, and intentions. In this future, we believe that everything will be sensing, connected, and intelligent.

GCI 2019 introduces what we call AI’s Upside Potential – the potential growth that AI can realize for GDP when it’s deployed industry-wide.

For Intelligent Connectivity to flourish, however, collaboration needs to go deeper and wider. Reflecting the rise of the cross-border partnerships that are shaping the global economic ecosystem, GCI 2019 identifies five Ecosystem Stakeholders that underpin the digital economy.

Key Findings & Takeaways

To draw the above themes together before you dive into the report, I’ve summarized a few of this year’s key findings:

  • Collaboration: Global collaboration will emerge as the new business paradigm, as enterprises, industries, and nations increasingly find they cannot go it alone. Protectionism will become an economic constraint that’s unable to yield the economic potential of the Intelligent Connectivity ecosystems that power global business.
  • 5G: Each new wireless generation typically starts boosting productivity and thus GDP at around 10% penetration. 5G’s rapid rollout will hit this tipping point in four years, faster than any other previous generation.
  • AI & GDP growth: All nations – even ICT leaders – are beginners at artificial intelligence. Powered by IoT and cloud, AI will create a new tipping point of economic growth for advanced nations who’ve maxed out gains from existing ICT infrastructure, and act as a potential catalyst for emerging nations to accelerate economic development. We expect that nations crossing the GCI tipping point score of 65 will see more than 1% added to their GDP growth in 2019.
  • Top movers: Four nations have made standout gains in their GCI scores since 2015: Ukraine (up 4 places in the GCI rankings from last year and up 12 GCI points since 2015); Bulgaria (up 10 GCI points since 2015); Algeria (up 8 points since 2015); and Bangladesh (up 7 GCI points since 2015).

Visit the Huawei GCI 2019 minisite for rankings, country analyses, and to download the full report: GCI 2019 Powering Intelligent Connectivity with Global Collaboration.

How did you country do?

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Kevin Zhang

CMO, Huawei ICT Infrastructure Kevin is Huawei’s CMO of ICT Infrastructure. He is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s overall ICT brand and marketing strategies, building technical leadership in ICT, and promoting sustainable business growth. Kevin is also in charge of communicating Huawei’s brand strategies and corporate vision, and he leads the company’s digital inclusion initiative TECH4ALL.

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