The Fletcher School at U.S. Tufts University said on Thursday in its Digital Evolution Index 2017 report that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Britain, New Zealand, Estonia and Hong Kong are "digital elites" in the world, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE is characterized "by high levels of digital development and a fast rate of digital evolution," said the report.
"With momentum and innovation, these 'stand out' markets exemplify the sweet spot of advancement and future growth," it added.
The index developed by the university, in partnership with credit card provider Mastercard, measured four key drivers and 170 unique indicators to chart each country's respective course, including supply, consumer demand for digital technologies, institutional environment and innovation.
The UAE, the most diversified economy in the Gulf Arab region, has implemented in recent years several initiatives to increase e-governance and reduce red tape.
Earlier in April this year, the UAE sheikhdom of Dubai launched e-governance scheme "Smart Dubai 2021" with the objective to eliminate all paper works at government institutions as of 2021.
This objective shall be achieved "by connecting all Dubai government departments on one platform called Dubai Pulse," explained Mohammed Shael Al-Saadi, the CEO of Corporate Strategy of the Dubai department of economic development.
In order to attract startups from the world, the UAE financial free zones in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have launched platforms with favorable conditions to spur the development of digital banking and e-payment channels.