30 January 2019
Orkestra’s report concludes that the digitisation of the Basque economy and society advances at the pace of the leading countries, moving up one position with respect to 2017 and ranking fifth ahead of Luxembourg, which occupied that same position the previous year.
The digitisation of the Basque economy and society is a fact, according to the “Digital Economy and Society in the Basque Country" report. The study was carried out by the Digital Economy Lab of Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness (University of Deusto), with the support of Euskaltel. It shows that, last year, as it has happened with the rest of the countries that make up the EU-28, the Basque Country progressed in all the dimensions measured by the DESI indicator which refer to connectivity, human capital, the use of Internet services, the integration of technology and digital public services.
However, this improvement has been more pronounced in the case of the European average, which reveals the high dynamism of the digitisation in the EU of the 28. Thus, the report warns of the need to continue advancing and working not to lose positions.
Undoubtedly, the dimension that has shown the best evolution in the last financial year, and has contributed, in turn, to the Basque Country’s improvement in digital leadership positions, is the integration of digital technology in Basque companies.
Specifically, the positive variation of 12.5% suffered from 2017 to 2018 is mainly due to the efforts made to digitise Basque businesses. Thus, the Basque Country, with a value of 69%, has become the leading territory in this field.
The counterpart to this positive aspect is given by the low figures in terms of electronic commerce of SMEs, which barely reaches 22%, compared to 38% of the average of the 28 EU members.
Orkestra’s report pays special attention to this matter, since the advance from 2017 to 2018 has been quite modest, reaching only one percentage point in comparison with the rest of the EU countries that have improved an average of 2%, which increases the existing gap even more.
The second indicator that has improved the most over the past year has been that of human capital. Particularly noteworthy are the figures obtained in terms of advanced skills, where, as in 2017, the high rate of STEM graduates stands out, placing the Basque Country in leadership positions, leaving far behind its follower, Ireland.
The number of specialists in information and communication technologies (ICTs) has also improved by 15% over the past year. The report highlights this fact as considerably positive, taking into account the low rate of specialists in this territory compared to the rest. This is an aspect that certainly needs to be further enhanced to support appropriate digitisation.
The connectivity of the Basque territory continues to maintain leadership positions. The report concludes that the Basque Country has outstanding connectivity capabilities, both in fixed and mobile broadband, and in fast and ultra-fast broadband.
As regards the use of Internet services at home, as in the rest of Europe, there is a noticeable increase in online video-on-demand services and a significant decline in downloads of audiovisual resources. With respect to online transactions, Basque users are still reluctant, despite the fact that improvements in the use of online banking and Internet-based purchases have been seen over the past year.
This behaviour can be extended to the use of digital public services, where government and electronic health services are better than the European average, but their usage is not so widespread among citizens.
Thus, the report stresses the need to delve into the possible barriers concerning Internet usage to perform certain transactions by users. This is something that, in line with the conclusions of 2017, may have a direct relationship with culture and hence, a lack of confidence in this type of tools.
Likewise, it pays special attention to those aspects whose implementation requires a longer implementation period and therefore, have not shown great improvements throughout 2018. According to the report’s findings, these aspects coincide with those in which the Basque Country occupies lower positions and, therefore, it is necessary to address the medium term challenges in order to continue advancing in the digitisation of the Basque economy and society.
Click on the following link to access the full publication: www.orkestra.deusto.es/euskadigitala/
DESI data visualisation
The charts on the situation and evolution of the examined dimensions and indicators are shown in an interactive way and they can be downloaded to the following tool developed thanks to the support of the SPRI Group, Basque Government: