Citi and the Imperial College Business School have released the latest Digital Money Index, a report that tracks 84 countries and their digital money readiness, Citi said in a news release.
The index is in its sixth year and compares collated data from five consecutive years. The report concluded that there’s been a 5.5 percent improvement in the digital money readiness for all countries tracked.
“The benefits of digital money have long been apparent and well-articulated by Citi. Increasingly, there is clear evidence that countries are recognizing the potential gains offered by digital money,” said Citi Global Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions Naveed Sultan. “We are delighted to be working with Imperial on the next edition of the index, and believe that this data and associated case studies provide truly valuable information and reflect Citi’s approach to collaborate with academia, policy makers and regulators to advance the financial infrastructure around the world to be compatible with today’s increasingly digital economy.”
Countries are grouped into four “clusters” that illustrate digital readiness: incipient, in-transition, materially ready and emerging. There have been improvements in every cluster, Citi said, but especially in the incipient and in-transition countries.
“The index has shown that countries at an earlier stage of readiness typically face challenges relating to lack of financial and communications infrastructure, as well as access to basic financial services,” said Sultan, who also chairs the advisory board for the Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College Business School, part of Imperial College London. “Those that are more mature face challenges relating to availability and adoption of digital money solutions.”
Of all the countries in the index, 18 have moved from one cluster to another in the last five years, which indicates an increase in digital readiness. The cluster shift means there are 50 percent more materially ready countries in 2019 and 20 percent less in the incipient cluster.
“For the first time in the Index’s six year history, we’ve been able to track changes across the time period, highlighting trends which are more cumulative than annual,” said Andrei Kirilenko, director of the Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College Business School. “This is reflective of how digital transformation actually works, while illustrating key bottlenecks. This information is tremendously valuable to policymakers from incipient and in-transition economies.”