HELSINKI (Reuters) - Sweden took the number one spot from the United States to top the annual rankings on the usage of telecommunications technologies such as networks, cellphones and computers, a report released on Thursday shows.
The Connectivity Scorecard, created by London Business School professor Leonard Waverman in 2008, measured 50 countries on dozens of indicators, including technological skills and usage of communications technology.
"Sweden not only has the best current mix of attributes, but it also shows few signs of losing its lead," said Waverman.
"By contrast, there is the beginning of a gap in what was once the essence of U.S. leadership in most industrial and service sectors - education and skills."
Sweden was second in the last survey behind the United States. Norway placed third, up from fifth spot last year.
Researchers say the new indicator -- commissioned by telecom gear maker Nokia Siemens Networks -- is already used by several countries in developing innovation strategies.
"Economic recovery and government stimulus packages aimed at boosting broadband deployment and ICT development should provide room for optimism in the coming years," Waverman said.
Countries in eastern and southern Europe -- including Italy, Spain, Greece and Poland -- took the last spots on the list of 25 developed countries.
Malaysia, helped by good co-operation between the public and private sectors, continued to top the list for developing countries, while South Africa rose to second spot, helped by strong corporate spending on IT hardware, software and services.
Following are the ratings for top 10 "innovation driven economies" measured in the study, scale 1-10, with last year ranking in the brackets:
1 Sweden 7.95
2 United States 7.77
3 Norway 7.74
4 Denmark 7.54
5 Netherlands 7.52
6 Finland 7.26
7 Australia 7.04
8 United Kingdom 7.03
9 Canada 7.02
10 Japan 6.73
Following are indexes for top 10 "efficiency and resource driven economies," scale 1-10, but not comparable with indexes for innovation-driven economies, with last year ranking in the brackets:
1 Malaysia 7.14
2 South Africa 6.18
3 Chile 6.06
4 Argentina 5.90
5 Russia 5.82
6 Brazil 5.32
7 Turkey 5.09
8 Mexico 5.00
9 Colombia 4.76
10 Ukraine 4.67
Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Kim Coghill