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Roger Strukhoff

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Chaotic Countries Have ICT Potential

My Friend is in Cairo. Shall I Join Him There?

A friend of mine is visiting Cairo, Egypt at the moment. As he descended into the chaos of the street in front of his hotel, he said he felt as if he was back in India, or Jamaica.

There are many chaotic, deafening streets in the world. I spent time on many of them during a recent three-year stay in Southeast Asia. Many streets in New York and London are also enough to drive one right back inside. Everyone who's had the opportunity to travel extensively will have their own "favorites."

At our Tau Institute, we've conducted research on many of the most chaotic places in the world. There are now 102 countries on our list, and we've found that chaos often echoes dynamism. Of course, other times, chaos is just chaos.

For example, among our Top 20 countries are a number of bustling Asian destinations - South Korea (actually ranked #1 in our research), Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan. Among our Top 20 countries with the greatest potential are the chaotic countries of Eastern Africa, Morocco, Senegal, the Philippines, and yes, Egypt.

It's easy enough to see that Asia and Africa are the most dynamic places on earth right now, when it comes to developing their ICT infrastructures. Eastern Europe is the other major region that tops our research - countries that may not appear as chaotic on the streets but may appear quite chaotic in how they conduct business. This list includes Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia.

There are several calmer places in our global Top 20 - New Zealand, the Netherlands (the world's best-organized beehive), Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, and Canada. The often befudding UK is also on this list. But among the places with the greatest potential, there is no country that a person with American or Western European eyes would call calm.

I don't mean to make light of or diminish the serious problems facing Egypt today. The potential for widespread violence seems to be just a spark away. Perhaps my friend really has no business being there right now.

Big problems and potential violence also face many of the other highly dynamic countries that top our rankings. That said, each of these places, including Egypt, has benefited from the presence of enough dedicated people throughout their societies to create viable ICT infrastructures that can form the foundation for their future growth and prosperity. In a way, I wish I was in Cairo right now, although I'd be just as happy to be back in Manila, or perhaps in Dar es Salaam.

Send me a message on Twitter if you'd like to know more about our research in the 102 countries now covered by the Tau Institute.

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Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.