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The World Wide Web Foundation on 5 September 2012 launched the first ever comprehensive Web Index – a new country-by-country global study that measures the impact of the Web on the world’s people and nations. The key findings can be found here.

Web inventor and Web Foundation founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee hosted an event in London to mark the launch of the Index. He was joined in conversation by two of the world’s leading Web experts: Wael Ghonim, internet activist and Head of Marketing of Google Middle East & North Africa, and Juliana Rotich, co-founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi, the Kenyan crowd-mapping platform. Juliana Rotich is also a member of the ICT4Peace Foundation International Advisory Board. ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher, who is a Trustee of the Web Foundation, and a member of the Web Index Steering Group, also attended.

Designed and produced by the World Wide Web Foundation, the Web Index is the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility and impact on people and nations. It covers 61 developed and developing countries, incorporating indicators that assess the political, economic and social impact of the Web, as well as indicators of Web connectivity and infrastructure. This is the first edition of the Web Index, which will be published annually, and will cover all countries. It will eventually allow for comparisons of trends over time and the benchmarking of performance across all countries, continuously improving our understanding of the Web’s value for humanity. By compiling data across many different dimensions of the Web and making it freely available, the Web Index will help deepen and broaden our understanding of how countries can maximise the impact of this powerful tool.

The Web Index provides a unique, authoritative view of the utility and impact of the Web around the world. The Index is therefore a powerful analytical tool to inform the decision-making process of various stakeholders, allowing for better-informed decisions and more targeted interventions and strategies. The Index will allow policy interventions to be formulated and targeted more directly to improve specific indicators.

The Index can be used by:

Governments: The Web Index will enable national policymakers to assess and track their performance in comparison with other countries, thereby targeting the specific indicators that allow other countries to rank higher.

Multilateral organisations / donors: The Web Index will empower multilateral organisations to more efficiently identify investment areas and program interventions to deliver benefits more effectively

Corporations: The Web Index will also provide an important analytical tool for corporations and private businesses looking to harness the Web’s potential. Companies can analyse indicators in the Index relevant to their field, and target countries where they see demand and the necessary infrastructure for delivery.

NGOs / advocacy groups: NGOs can use the Index and its rankings in their discussions with policymakers to make a stronger case for government support for a particular project in that field.

Ultimately, anyone with an interest in the Web can use the Web Index to develop a better understanding of its impact around the world.  

The Web Index is a composite index incorporating political, economic, social and developmental indicators, as well as indicators of Web connectivity and infrastructure. It relies on both primary data, based on expert surveys, and secondary data pulled from existing sources.

The data and methodology used to produce the Index have been published openly to ensure full transparency and can be used by others to undertake their own research. The Web Foundation hopes that the Index will help stimulate the debate and discussion around the use of the Web and its utility to people. The full methodology used to compute the Index is available on the Web Index Website.

A list of documents can be found here.