Oman has advanced 11 places in the Government AI Readiness Index 2020 compiled by Oxford Insights and the International Research Development Centre (IDRC). The sultanate was ranked 59th in 2019 and is now ranked 48th in the world.
The index’s key findings are based on the question of how ready a given government is to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the delivery of public services to its citizens. To answer that question, the index draws on 33 indicators across ten dimensions.
The report states that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategic importance of AI for governments around the world is more evident than ever before. ‘From the pharmaceutical companies using AI to assist with the development of new drugs and treatments, to the use of AI to assist contact tracing with mobile phone and geolocation data, new technologies have helped governments manage the pandemic, and may well play a role in the economic recovery to follow.’
According to the index, the MENA region provides a representative snapshot of the world in terms of government readiness for AI.
Compared to other regions, the scores of the 18 countries covered in the MENA vary widely.
There is a 53 points difference between best performing and worst performing countries in the region. For example, the best scoring country (UAE) is among the top 20 worldwide (ranked 16 globally with a score of 72.40), while the lowest scoring country in the region (Yemen) is one of the lowest scoring worldwide (ranked 172 with a score of 19.07).
‘Due to these widely distributed regional scores, the average score for the MENA region (44.39) is equivalent to the glo-bal average of the 178 countries covered in the index (44.25). This trend also stands when comparing the regional averages of each sub-indicator with its equivalent global average,’ the index stated.
The UAE is the only country in the region scoring more that 70 points. ‘This advanced level of readiness is largely driven by a series of proactive government steps over the past several years towards implementing a future-looking vision of government based on digitisation and adoption of advanced technologies.’
USA tops this year’s index, with the remaining top five places going to Western European nations (UK, Finland, Germany and Sweden), reflecting the fact that North America and Western Europe are the highest-scoring regions overall.