Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


Portugal has climbed two places to 36th in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking, a study involving 64 countries. "Data protection regulation" and "Communication technologies" are some of the country's key strengths.

The results announced by the academic institution, which has an exclusive national partnership with the Porto Business School for the development of the rankings, show that the country has climbed two places since last year.  Regionally, Portugal is ranked 24th in a group of 41 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In terms of population density, the country ranks 22nd in a group of 37 countries with less than 20 million inhabitants.


Despite falling two places in the "Knowledge" factor to 31st, Portugal improved in the "Education and training" (36th to 34th) and "Scientific concentration" (27th to 26th) subfactors and maintained its ranking in "Talent" (29th). In terms of specific criteria, Portugal stands out for "Student-teacher ratio (higher education)" (12th) and "Science graduates" (16th). On the other hand, 'International experience' and 'Training of the workforce' are Portugal's main weaknesses.


In the "Technology" factor, improvements were only observed in "Technological framework" (from 48th to 46th), with "Capital" (49th) and "Regulatory framework" (27th) dropping by one and eight positions, respectively. Within these parameters, "Immigration policies" (6th) and "Communication technologies" (8th) are Portugal's main strengths, while "Mobile broadband subscribers" are its main weakness.


Lastly, in "Preparation for the future," Portugal climbed nine places in the sub-factor "Adaptation attitudes" (26th) and two in "Business agility" (58th), maintaining the 25th position in "IT Integration." It is noteworthy that Portugal leads globally in "Data protection regulations" but reveals weaknesses in "Business agility" and "Use of big data and analytics."


The 2023 World Digital Competitiveness Ranking studied 64 economies, including Kuwait for the first time, analyzing three main factors: "Knowledge," "Technology," and "Preparation for the future." These factors are divided into nine sub-factors, comprising a total of 54 criteria quantified through concrete data and executive responses to a survey.


After falling to the second position for the first time since the creation of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking in 2017, the United States regains the top spot this year with robust results in all three factors: "Knowledge," "Technology," and "Preparation for the future." The Netherlands rose four positions from the previous year and currently holds the second position. Singapore completes the podium, securing the first place in the "Technology" factor.


The emergence of AI accompanied by enhanced cybersecurity


This year's results of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking also provide insights into how different countries are approaching digital transformation in the era of artificial intelligence (AI) – an increasingly important characteristic as the emergence and growth of this technology are already transforming society.


"Although we do not measure specific AI indicators, this technology is quietly at the core of several of the sub-factors we quantify: talent, regulatory and technological frameworks, and attitudes towards adaptation and business agility," explains Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, which has produced the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking since 2017.