Greece’s ICT adoption has been relatively slow, and thus the country has not yet reaped the full benefits from the development of internet technologies. Further investment in ICT promises the creation of new businesses and jobs in Greece.
Greece falls below the EU average in 65 out of 84 ICT indicators based on the European Digital Agenda, performing poorly in measures of broadband penetration, internet usage, and adoption of e-Commerce transactions. In 2013 it was reported that 36% of the Greek population had never used the internet. In 2010, Greece placed last in the EU for the provision of integrated electronic services to consumers and businesses. This is reflective of the fact that Greece’s economy is struggling to recover from recession and policy makers face a difficult fiscal environment with which to encourage economic growth and launch the digital growth process (The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research 2014).
Moreover, only 10% of all tourist arrivals in Greece are supported by online content, in comparison to the 49% average for arrivals in the EU as a whole. Oxford Economics estimate that the Greek tourist industry would achieve a 20% increase in demand if their online content was to match that of leading EU countries (Oxford Economics 2013).
The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research recommends four digital projects for policy makers to prioritise in order to reap major benefits for the economy: developing e-skills; utilisation of digital solutions for transactions between public administrations, consumers and businesses; creation of open data; and fostering an environment conducive to new entry of SMEs and start-ups.
IOBE quantifies the adoption of these digital projects. For instance, digital signature solutions in Greek public administration is projected to cut costs by EUR 380 million in the first year of adoption. Increasing the diffusion of open data by 100% will create 6332 new businesses, raise its competitiveness ranking by 25 positions and raise its transparency ranking by 33 positions. Training 1000 individuals in e-skills will increase Greek exports by EUR 13.9 million, and create 72 new businesses. SME ICT adoption will increase the probability of innovation by up to 9 percentage points, and increase the likelihood to export by up to 4 percentage points. (IOBE 2014).