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Peer2Peer Finance News | July 21, 2017

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UK named as one of world’s “digital elite” economies

UK named as one of world’s “digital elite” economies
John Fitzsimons

THE UK has been praised for establishing one of the strongest digital economies in the world in new research from Mastercard and the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

The Digital Evolution Index is an annual study, which tracks the progress 60 different countries across the world have made in building digital economies, and the UK was named as a ‘Stand Out’ economy alongside the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel and New Zealand.

Nations were ranked based on criteria including level of internet access and infrastructure, consumer demand for digital economies, government policies and the levels of innovation present.

The researchers said that the digital economies in these elite nations “demonstrate high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth”.

Researchers highlighted the role of London in the UK’s digital economy, as it is home to many of Europe’s leading fintech firms, with big banks also on hand to “offer expertise and back the start-ups”.

Read more: UK financial sector prepares to scale up IT investment

Much of the rest of western Europe, as well as Australia, was placed in the second grouping, categorised as ‘stall outs’. While these nations have a history of strong growth when it comes to embracing digital potential, without further innovation they are at risk of falling further behind according to the index.

“We all know technology can do more to improve economies and make our lives better, but growth is only achievable if everyone has confidence in the developing ecosystem,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of global enterprise risk and security at Mastercard.

“In our pursuit of a truly connected world, trust and security are critical to successful digital development. The UK is an exemplar in this.”

Read more: British Business Bank pledges extra £20m to fund tech start-ups

Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital, said that the report made clear that the UK is the “undisputed tech hub of Europe”.

“The UK tech sector is attracting twice as much investment as any other European country, and only last week it was announced there had been a new record £5.6bn investment in tech in London in the past six months,” he said.

“We are determined to ensure the UK continues to be best place to start and grow a digital business and our recent Digital Strategy and Digital Charter will help us achieve this.”

Read more: Tech companies feeling secure from economic and political volatility