European countries risk falling behind emerging economic rivals by 2020 unless businesses begin to match US levels of ICT investment, according to a new study from comms provider AT&T and research outfit Oxford Economics.
The six-month study purports to show that European countries have dropped back behind US levels of investment and productivity growth, and that European GDP could be boosted by €760m (£660bn) by the end of the decade, with ICT innovation contributing around €220bn of growth.
AT&T regional vice president of Europe, Andrew Edison, claimed that without matching this level of investment, emerging economies, such as Brazil, could leapfrog the region in productivity terms.
Edison said that there was now clear evidence that investing in IT could make European states more productive and competitive.
However, he continued, "the investment in technology isn't all about buying new kit. Investment needs to be made in people, skills and proceeses to get the full ROI."
Added Fabio Colasanti, senior adviser at the European Policy Centre, governments have a responsibility to put ICT policies at the heart of economic agendas.
"National governments must prioritise ICT investment more effectively and focus on creating the right conditions for investment. This means improvements to ICT infrastructure, more flexible labour markets and better ICT education," he saidA version of this story first appeared on ComputerWeekly.com