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OECD warns Austria on slow digital transition

VIENNA

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned Austria that its transition towards digitalisation was lagging behind most rich countries and that the gaps relative to the others have even widened in recent years.

“The differences are particularly striking for tasks related to the internet such as real-time discussions, emailing, or executing transactions online,” the Paris-based OECD, a wealthy-country think-tank, said in a report published on Monday.

In particular, Austria’s small- and mid-cap companies were slow in adopting innovative information and communications technology, the organisation said.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern set out ambitious objectives for the transition to a digital economy to close those gaps in January, when he introduced a 10-year plan focused on creating jobs and boosting public investment.

His “digital roadmap” aims to provide high-speed broadband internet to the remotest parts of the Alpine country by 2020. It also outlined an education initiative to start digital education as early as possible and make sure no child leaves school without digital competencies.

The government’s plan needs a transparent monitoring system with timelines, and should integrate a digital skills plan for small firm owners and managers, the OECD recommended.

Reuters