Economist Intelligence Unit Current Affairs - 2019
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The Economist Intelligence Unit has released the report of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2019.
Findings of the Survey
- For the first time in its 30-year history, three cities have been accorded the title of the world’s most expensive city in the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from The Economist Intelligence Unit.
- Singapore which top’s of the rankings for the sixth consecutive year is joined there by Hong Kong and Paris.
- Zurich in Switzerland stood at the fourth position followed by Japan’s Osaka which shared fifth place with Geneva, also in Switzerland.
- Seoul (South Korea), Copenhagen (Denmark) and New York (US) were jointly placed at the seventh spot.
- Los Angeles (US) along with Israel’s Tel Aviv was named the 10th most expensive city in the world.
- The cost of living in Chinese cities remains relatively stable, while Southeast Asian destinations were moving up the ranks.
- Weaker local currencies have pushed all five Australian and two New Zealand cities surveyed down in the ranking.
- While parts of Asia remain the most expensive places on Earth, Asian Cities also makes several appearances at the bottom of the list.
- World’s cheapest cities include Caracas (Venezuela), Damascus (Syria), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Karachi (Pakistan), Lagos (Nigeria), Buenos Aires (Argentina) as well as the three Indian cities of Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi.
The Survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in cities around the world by keeping New York as the benchmark city.
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The Inclusive Internet Index 2019 was prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for Facebook. The ‘Inclusive Internet’ score was based on the scores of availability, affordability, relevance and readiness categories.
The 2019 Index evaluated 100 countries, representing 94 per cent of the world’s population and 96 per cent of global GDP.
Findings of the Inclusive Internet Index 2019 Report
- Sweden has topped the rankings followed by Singapore and the US.
- India has been ranked 47th.
- Men have more Internet access than women globally but low and lower middle income countries narrowed the gender gap in 2018.
- The UK, Namibia, Ireland, Austria, Chile and South Africa are the top performers of the year in terms of gender equality. All these countries had female digital skills training plans.
- The report notes that Inclusion for women and those with disabilities have improved, with low income and lower-middle-income countries driving the progress.
- The report notes that the affordability is declining relative to monthly income in many countries. This is disproportionately affecting women and people in low-income countries who are more reliant on mobile as their primary means of accessing the Internet.
- The percentage of households connected to the Internet globally increased, on average from 53.1 per cent to 54.8 per cent, the rate of growth in Internet connections slowed to 2.9 per cent in 2019 from 7.7 per cent in 2018.
- Fixed-line Internet access is too expensive or inaccessible in some countries, as a result, mobile services are critical in these regions.
- The lower-middle-income countries made a significant 66 per cent improvement in 4G coverage and low-income countries witnessed a moderate 22 per cent improvement.
- Web accessibility standards have also improved. The improvements were led by low and lower middle income countries.
- There are about 3.8 billion people around the world without fast and reliable Internet access.
- Even though the overall gap between those with access to the Internet and those without narrowed, the lowest income countries fell behind because they improved at a slower rate than other countries and much slower than last year.
- Internet connections in low-income countries increased by marginal 0.8 per cent compared to 65.1 per cent last year.
- More than half (52.2 per cent) of respondents said they are not confident about their online privacy.
- Majority of respondents (74.4 per cent) think the Internet has been the most effective tool for finding jobs
The report highlights that there are demonstrable benefits from comprehensive female e-inclusion policies, digital skills programmes and targets for women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
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