According to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for 2021, Cyprus is among the countries that lag far behind in terms of the pace of transition to digital format.
Our island ranks 21st among the 27 EU states.
The average DESI index for 2021 in Cyprus was 43.5 points, and together with Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia, Cyprus entered the group of digitally slow developing countries.
The indicators of Cyprus in the field of "stationary, high-speed and high-speed coverage, as well as stationary and mobile data transmission" are higher than the EU average values of 67%. However, human resources in Cyprus still lags far behind other EU countries.
79% of the population of Cyprus regularly use the Internet, but only half have basic digital skills. The number of those who have a diploma in one of the exact sciences (STEM) is quite small. Cyprus has the lowest value in the EU for this parameter. The share of computer specialists in the labor market is only 2.2%, with a European average of 3.7%. According to the report, Cyprus education in the field of information technology does not meet today's market needs.
It is noteworthy that users in Cyprus mainly read news online, listen to music, watch movies and play games, as well as make voice and video calls and use social networks. At the same time, only 34% of the country's population uses e-banking services and only 39% of Cyprus residents make purchases online.
It is worth noting that the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy has recently launched the implementation of the "Digital Strategy of Cyprus (2020-2030)", which will accelerate the digital transformation of the island.
The Cyprus strategy is aimed at:
- achieving digital transformation of the public sector (e-government)
- promoting the digital transformation of the private sector
- facilitating high-speed network connectivity
- promoting an accessible and inclusive society with the skills to embrace national digital transformation
- promotion of innovations in accordance with the level of digital maturity of the country.
Cyprus is also currently preparing an "E-Skills Action Plan" aimed at developing and improving digital skills in all population groups.
The main objectives of the plan:
- create an open and accessible digital society that fully benefits from digital transformation,
- strengthen basic digital and software skills, the level of which has recently declined.
It is noteworthy that the head of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriakos Kokkinos, called the shortage of specialists and the Cypriot mentality the biggest problems on the country's path to rapid digitalization.
Kokkinos noted that about 3,500 specialists are currently lacking in the IT sector, and also added that comprehensive professional development and retraining programs are needed. Kokkinos expressed hope that proper implementation of digital policy in five to seven years will raise Cyprus to the middle of the rating.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarizes relevant indicators on the effectiveness of digital technologies in Europe and tracks the evolution of EU member states in the field of digital competitiveness.
The DESI index covers five main areas: communication, human capital, Internet usage, digital technology integration and digital public services.