Cyprus’ digital economy crawling out of EU basement

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Cyprus ranks 20 among the 27 EU Member States in the latest edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), moving up one place from last year.

According to a European Commission report, the country’s relative progress, considering its starting point, is above the expected rate, indicating that it converges to the EU average.

Cyprus has improved its performance in almost all DESI dimensions, although it still scores below the EU average in most cases.

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 Very High-Capacity Networks (VHCN) coverage.

It also scores high in the 5G readiness (67%) and relative coverage (75%) indicators.

Nevertheless, coverage by VHCN is still far from the EU average and the 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, Cyprus is still below the EU average on basic digital skills.

One out of two Cypriots lacks basic digital skills.

According to the report, a significant change of pace is needed in the country’s drive to improve its citizens’ digital skills.

Some 66% of Cypriot SMEs use digital technologies and have at least a basic level of digital intensity, above the EU average of 55%.

“Cyprus has already built strong foundations for its contribution to the EU’s Digital Decade target to have more than 90% of SMEs with at least a basic level of digital intensity.”

Approximately 63% of Cypriots already interact digitally with public administrations, just below the EU average of 65%.

“Cyprus’ performance on digital public services for citizens and businesses shows that the country must continue its ongoing efforts to achieve the Digital Decade target of 100% online provision of key public services for EU citizens and businesses by 2030.”

It is also noted that the ‘Digital Strategy for Cyprus (2020-2025)’ under the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy (DMRID) should accelerate Cyprus’ digital transformation.

The report also refers to Cyprus’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), saying that it has a total value of €1.2 bln, of which €282 million is dedicated to digital transition.

This means that the digital transition accounts for 23% of its RRP, exceeding the EU’s target of 20%.