Cyprus ranks 20th among 27 EU member states in the 2022 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), faring particularly well as regards connectivity where it came in 12th according to an EU Commission report published on Thursday.
Positively, the country’s relative progress considering its starting point is above the expected rate, indicating that it is converging to the EU average, the report said.
Cyprus has improved its performance in almost all DESI dimensions, although in most cases it still scores below the EU average.
The most marked progress has been made in connectivity, integration of digital technology and digital public services.
Cyprus ranks above the EU average on mobile broadband take-up and has improved its coverage of Very High Capacity Networks (VHCN). It also scores high in the 5G readiness (67 per cent) and relative coverage (75 per cent) indicators.
Nevertheless, coverage by VHCN is still far from both the EU average and the EU’s Digital Decade target, which is for all European households to be covered by a Gigabit network and all populated areas to be covered by 5G by 2030. Therefore, Cyprus needs to intensify its efforts in this area.
Although the country improved its score in recent years, Cyprus is still below the EU average on basic digital skills with one out of two Cypriots lacking basic digital skills.
“A significant change of pace is needed in the country’s drive to improve its citizens’ digital skills,” the report said.
Among Cypriot SMEs, 66 per cent use digital technologies and have at least a basic level of digital intensity, which is above the EU average of 55 per cent.
Cyprus has already built strong foundations for its contribution to the EU’s Digital Decade target to have more than 90 per cent of SMEs with at least basic a level of digital intensity.
Approximately 63 per cent of Cypriots already interact digitally with public administrations, just below the EU average of 65 per cent. Cyprus’ performance on digital public services for citizens and businesses shows that the country must continue its ongoing efforts to enable it to achieve the Digital Decade target of 100 per cent online provision of key public services for EU citizens and businesses by 2030.
Cyprus’ Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) has a total value of €1.2 billion of which €282 million is dedicated to the digital transition. This means that the digital transition accounts for 23 per cent of its RRP, exceeding the EU’s target of 20 per cent.
As regards human capital, Cyprus ranked 21st with a score of 41.8 compared to the EU27 average of 45.7. On connectivity, it ranked 12th with a score of 58.8 compared to the E average of 59.9. It ranked 17th as regards integration of digital technology with a score of 35.3 compared to the EU27 average of 36.1. Finally, it was 20th on the digital public services index with a score of 57.5, below the EU 27 average of 67.3.